PCCW launches legal battle against Hong Kong regulators

PCCW launches legal battle against Hong Kong regulators

PCCW has filed a court case against regulators in Hong Kong over a government plan to redistribute a third of existing 3G spectrum licences later this year.

The company operates in Hong Kong via its mobile subsidiary HKT, and is challenging the decision from the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) under grounds that it is “unlawful and irrational”.

In a statement published in a local newspaper, a PCCW spokesperson said: “By forcing HKT to surrender part of its 3G spectrum holdings rather than renewing HKT’s licence in full...the authority has frustrated HKT’s and PCCW’s substantive legitimate expectation of licence renewal.”

Regulators have said that the decision to reallocate 3G spectrum is designed to boost competition in the city which is dominated by four incumbent operators; HKT, CSL New World Mobility, Hutchison Telephone and SmarTone.

PCCW claimed that OFCA has made an “elementary error”, and has accused the authorities of being unfair to all four existing licence holders for not consulting their opinion on the decision.

The decision has also been criticised for being made under political pressure to help China Mobile to expand in Hong Kong’s mobile market. This was vehemently denied by OFCA chairman Ambrose Ho Pui-him at a meeting last month.

The four operators warned OFCA of a rebellion in March last year when the idea of redistribution was first floated.

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