3 Hong Kong picks Huawei for network upgrade

18 April 2017 | James Pearce

3 Hong Kong has announced a major upgrade of its network in order to boost capacity and coverage.

The mobile operator, owned by Hutchison Telecoms Hong Kong Holdings (HTHKH), has selected Chinese vendor Huawei to carry out the network upgrades, which 3 Hong Kong claims will prepare it for the development of 5G technology.

3 Hong Kong is the only mobile operator in Hong Kong to hold spectrum licenses across the 900, 1800, 2100 MHz, 2300 and 2600 MHz spectrum bandwidths. This has seen the operator begin re-farming its spectrum holdings to deal with higher demand from its customers.

Last year, 3 Hong Kong re-farmed its 900MHz spectrum for use across 4G, while it has also unveiled plans to re-farm its 2100MHz holdings this year.

“As we move towards the 5G and IoT era, 3 Hong Kong is actively deploying 5G technologies and upgrading its existing network architecture,” said Cliff Woo Chiu-man, executive director and CEO of HTHKH. 

“In addition to using CA technology with 5CC, we have conducted research and carried out trials for various technologies, such as small cell installations, network cloudification, network function virtualisation (NFV) and Massive MIMO towards the 5G era. These efforts will enable the timely launch of services to meet market demand as soon as the 5G standard and Hong Kong’s spectrum plans are confirmed.”

To enable this, 3 Hong Kong will deploy CA technology. It will combine 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz x2 and 2600 MHz spectrums with frequency division duplex and time division duplex technology to facilitate higher bandwidths. It will also utilise 4x4 MIMO and 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) technology.

The new technology, which is being supplied by Huawei, will allow 3 Hong Kong’s customer base to see download speeds topping 1.2Gbps, it claims, by the end of 2017.

It will also implement a number of Huawei’s cloud technologies, including CloudEdge, CloudRAN, and CloudAIR, which together help operators integrate core networks, wireless access networks and spectrum.

“As a leading ICT player, Huawei has been researching relevant technologies since 2009 and increasing our investment in this area. Network cloudification has been a recent focus for us, as this is a prerequisite for the future deployment of 5G networks,” said Zhou Yuefeng, chief marketing officer, wireless network product line at Huawei Technologies.  

“We have gained extensive experience in network cloudification and commercial applications of the technology. Huawei is honoured to collaborate with 3 Hong Kong to create a full cloud network.”