Hong Kong’s SmarTone Telecommunications has revealed that it plans to launch commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services on 28 August 2012, Engadget China reports. In confirming the date for the introduction of the technology, SmarTone also noted that in terms of pricing, existing tariffs would apply for the new service.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, SmarTone shrugged off its failure to gain 2600MHz frequencies in Hong Kong’s January 2009 BWA auction, immediately announcing a plan to implement 4G LTE technology by re-farming existing spectrum. Such plans were bolstered when it won an additional 2×1.6MHz block of 1800MHz frequencies in a June 2009 auction, which it subsequently earmarked for 4G services, with SmarTone having claimed that rolling out LTE in the lower frequency range will allow customers to benefit from superior in-building coverage. Having inked a deal with Swedish vendor Ericsson for the latter’s multi-mode, multi-standard base stations to help accommodate the LTE upgrade, the cellco initially appeared to be in no hurry to jump from HSPA+ to 4G, having said it did not anticipate that demand will justify the move until ‘2013 or 2014’. However, in February 2012 this proposed launch date was revised to ‘within 2012’.