Hong Kong to auction mobile TV licenses in mid-2009

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Officials in Hong Kong have announced plans to auction spectrum earmarked for mobile television services. Hong Kong's Commerce & Economic Development Bureau said it will hold the auction as early as mid-2009, with hopes that mobile TV services will formally launch in 2010. An implementation framework introduced by the bureau calls for point-to-multipoint mobile TV broadcast services, necessitating Hong Hong's Telecommunications Authority to allocate one frequency multiplex in UHF Band and two in Band III. The UHF Band can support up to 20 mobile TV channels, with an additional six channels provided by the two Band III multiplexes. The bands will be auctioned as two separate packages, with no individual party allowed to acquire more than one package. Officials will also require successful bidders to use at least half of the transmission capacity for providing mobile TV content, with the remainder supporting services like digital audio broadcasting or datacasting.

The Commerce & Economic Development Bureau adds it will impose a baseline requirement mandating that any mobile TV service's geographic coverage spans half of Hong Kong's population--prospective mobile TV operators will have to submit to performance bonds to guarantee compliance should they win the licenses. Operators will also be required to launch services within 18 months from the unified carrier license grant. Officials nevertheless maintain they will adopt a light-handed approach to regulating mobile TV content, favoring general law and self-regulatory codes of practice.

For more on the Hong Kong mobile TV spectrum auction:
- read this Hollywood Reporter article

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