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New 3G services set for November in HK
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The new CDMA 2000-standard third-generation mobile services will be launched launch in November in Hong Kong while the auction for spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz bands for the provision of Broadband Wireless Access services is set for the fourth quarter, an official said in Hong Kong on Wednesday.


With these in place more innovative mobile and fixed broadband wireless access services will soon be available in Hong Kong, Director-General of Telecommunications Marion Lai said at a year-end briefing.


She said there will be other important regulatory initiatives this year, like the creation of a Unified Carrier License as the common licensing vehicle for the development of fixed-mobile convergence.


Lai said last year continued to be a robust and prosperous year for Hong Kong's telecommunications developments with the rapid growth of wireless communication services including mobile, short messaging and public WiFi services, making it one of the most advanced wireless cities in the world.


Despite the highly competitive mobile market the number of mobile subscribers rose to more than 10 million for the first time in October, then to another record high of 10.6 million in November, meaning a penetration rate of 152 percent.


"This is one of the highest penetration rates in the world, well exceeding many advanced economies such as the US, UK, Japan and Korea," Lai said.


Last year also saw a massive rollout of public WiFi networks - the hotspot number has exceeded 6,400 serving more than 4,100 locations. Coupled with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government's commitment to install 3,000 WiFi access points at 350 government premises by the end of 2009, public WiFi services will continue to expand.


The volume of short messages Hong Kong people sent and received in the year also showed significant growth. Sent messages totaled 3.28 billion from December 2006 to November 2007, up 26 percent on the same period a year earlier.


(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)

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