3大台反對拍賣5G頻譜

香港的電訊業界最近烽煙四起, 除了恒常的減價戰外, 大家都在為政府的5G政策落後其他地區而發聲, 大多抱怨政府不願加快指配5G頻譜的步伐, 令香港原本領先的地位被區內其他國家超前, 當中更包括了中國。難怪有營運商的高層對此表示羞恥, 因為香港一直都領先中國, 但今次情況將要逆轉了。

香港政府一直堅持要到5G國際標準定下來才推出頻譜, 但問題是其他區內國家一早已指派頻譜給網絡商建網, 預計明年便會推出服務, 但特首卻仍然視若無睹還滿口歪理說提出加快釋出5G頻譜的人是「既得利益者」, 把他們標籤不懷好意的人。實在令人驚訝林鄭政府是用什麼來思考。

無錯, 政府一直強調頻譜是稀缺資源要公平分配, 因此才定出以拍賣方式來分配5G頻譜, 表面上好似好公平, 但實際上拍賣只益了政府, 政府便是5G頻譜拍賣的既得利益者了。每次拍賣都可以從營運商取得數以十億元的收入, 完全是無本生利, 還要每十五年就拍賣一次, 政府坐著就有錢落袋, 多好呀。

政府一直話拍賣方式行之有效, 佢地一講行之有效就代表係唔會改變, 大家都明政府中人多麼不願意改變。因此, 政府在5G頻譜指配的諮詢文件中亦一早畫界, 表明由於預見市場對5G頻譜有競爭性需求, 因此會用拍賣方式來指配頻譜。但問題是, 競爭性需求係你政府自己一箱情願講既, 實際情況係咪咁呢? 特別是現時電訊商生意難做, 月費不斷減價而消費者也傾向使用免費WiFi 來上網, 用手機上網對不少普羅市民都是高消費服務, 營運商為求吸客只能割價。在這個情況下, 5G的推出讓手機上網伸延至以企業及政府機構為客戶的商業市場, 是讓營運商取得新收入來源的機會。

在市場前景不明朗情況下, 網絡商對投資建網採取甚為保守的態度。以往經常高調宣傳數千個發射站的吹牛之風不再, 相反卻是密密在計數節省成本之餘也要保持網絡覆蓋。但政府偏偏不放棄從頻譜拍賣得來的這塊肥肉, 在明年拍賣5G前, 今年底便要先為現有900/1800MHz的頻譜續期做拍賣, 換言之, 網絡商在一年之內要先後兩次進貢政府數十甚或百億元去取得頻譜建網. 當中900/1800MHz的更是現在有客使用的頻譜, 這是甚麼的安排?

這就難怪三大網絡商, 包括香港電訊, 和記電訊香港及中國移動香港, 罕有地對政府建議拍賣5G頻譜同聲說不, 並建議政府以平均分配方式給現有營運商. 因為5G前景不明及底價太高。不過, 新地旗下數碼通卻對此「No comment」態度著實耐人尋味。

以下是四大台對政府採取拍賣方式指配5G頻譜的意見:

CMHK: has reservation on assigning the spectrum through an auction, for the reason that the inputs of investment in operating a mobile network in Hong Kong is substantially high, while the business case of 5G network is still uncertain. It is doubtful whether there is any new comer or competing demand in Hong Kong for the radio spectrum in 3.5GHz band. If CA can consider to assign 3.5GHz spectrum to incumbent MNOs instead of auction, it may encourage 5G technology deployment for supporting Smart City development in Hong Kong.

HTHK: Considering the characteristics of 5G technology (which demands for more and wider frequency spectrum than 4G LTE), the number of MNOs and the size of Hong Kong, we are of the view that the amount of spectrum per MNO is inadequate for providing superb network speed and quality user experience. Hence, assignment priority should be given to the existing MNOs.

HKT: Instead of an auction, the CA should consider assigning the 3.5 GHz Band on an equal basis, in blocks of 50 MHz, to the 4 incumbent mobile operators. This would be the only way to ensure that the needs of the market are fully met (since an auction process cannot guarantee each operator would be able to secure a minimum of 50 MHz each) and is a perfectly acceptable course of action in the interests of the public.

SmarTone: We note the CA’s analysis of the demand for the radio spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band and have no particular comment on the issue.

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A columnist in political development in Greater China region, technology and gadgets, media industry, parenting and other interesting topics.

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