The initial phase of the HKT 5G launch will cover 11 of Hong Kong’s 18 districts

Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) has set the first of April as its 5G launch date in parts of Hong Kong, and if that deadline is met, it will be the first operator in the area to deploy next-gen services. The initial phase, which will cover 11 of Hong Kong’s 18 districts, will include Causeway Bay, Admiralty and Central, with rapid expansion planned in the coming months.

Hong Kong’s 5G spectrum auctions were completed last November and resulted in HKT obtaining 30 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for $25.7 million, adding to 40 megahertz in the 4.9 GHz band and 200 megahertz of 3.5 GHz that the operator had previously acquired. In addition, the government assigned 400 megahertzin the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands to the operator in March 2019.

When tallied up, HKT has a total of 520 megahertz of 5G spectrum.

In related news, Ericsson and SmarTone announced this week a five-year contract for the deployment of 5G in Hong Kong.

The agreement includes a number of Ericsson components, including Ericsson’s Dual-Mode 5G Core, which will, according to a statement, enable SmarTone to rapidly launch advanced services and run efficient operations through a cloud-native solution combining Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and 5G core architectures, as well as Ericsson Orchestration and management systems to simplify operations.

The SmarTone network will also be set up with artificial intelligence (AI) powered radio access capabilities. Using machine learning and real-time processing on the baseband, the network can “instantaneously” direct the end-user to the best available 5G cells, predict traffic patterns and autonomously activate smart sleep modes for antennas.

While HKT might be the first to launch a 5G network in Hong Kong, SmarTone said it will be the first operator in Hong Kong to deploy Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, Ericsson’s brand of spectrum sharing technology that enables dynamic sharing of spectrum between 4G and 5G and more efficient use of its existing spectrum and existing Ericsson Radio System infrastructure for 5G deployment.

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