Hong Kong – Public Radiocommunications Services Licensing

 Editor’s Note:


In Hong Kong, the provision of public non-exclusive telecommunications services using radio frequency requires a Public Radiocommunications Services (“PRS”) Licence.   The issuance of PRS licences is subject to the availability of the required radio frequency spectrum.


The following summary description of the licensing regime for PRS licences is adapted from: “Guidelines of Application for Public Radiocommunications Services Licence”, (the “Guidelines”) the full text of which is available at: http://www.ofta.gov.hk/frameset/legislation_index_eng.html.  A link to this document is set out below.


Summary Description of the PRS Licensing Regime

According to section 2.2 of the Guidelines, at present, interested persons may file an application at any time with the Telecommunications Authority (the “TA”) in Hong Kong for a licence to provide the following types of public radiocommunications services:

·        Radio paging;

·        Community repeater (trunked radio) services operating in the VHF (Band III) or 800 MHz band;

·        Vehicle location information services;

·        One-way data message services;  and

·        Public mobile radio data services.

The provision of radiocommunications services that are limited due to technical and spectrum availability restrictions are usually licensed pursuant to a procedure adopted by the TA.  The TA announces the procedure and the opportunity to apply for such a licence through a Gazette Notice.

Prior to April 1, 2001, the provision of all public non-exclusive telecommunications services using radio frequency was licensed under the PRS licensing regime.  On April 1, 2001, however, a section of the Hong Kong Telecommunications Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) concerning carrier licences came into effect.  Pursuant to this new section on carrier licences,  the following licences (among others) were to be phased out and replaced by carrier licences:  PRS Licence for personal communications services;  PRS Licence for public mobile radiotelephone services;  and PRS Licence for services other than land mobile services.

The Telecommunications Authority (the “TA”) in Hong Kong now issues carrier licences instead of the aforementioned licences.  Licensees who held the aforementioned licences had the option of retaining their PRS licences until the licences expired or migrating to the new carrier licence regime. 

Section 3 of the Guidelines describes the criteria that are used to evaluate PRS licence applications.  In addition to General Criteria, applicants are required to provide information about:  company structure and financial capability; a description of the service;  technical details of the system;  technical support;  previous experience of the applicant;  and additional information about matters such as the implementation programme and compliance with ITU-T/ITU-R Recommendations.

Section 4 of the Guidelines provides instructions about how to apply for a PRS licence.  Among other things, applicants must complete and submit the Application Form for PRS Licence.  A link to this Application Form is set out below.



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