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CA News 2024

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CTM and MTel have been granted a 1-year license extension due to legislative delays

The licenses for fixed telephony services of local telecom providers CTM and MTel will be extended for another year, according to a government gazette message published on Tuesday.

The decision follows the government’s announcement in December last year that it would grant a nine-month extension to their two-year licenses, which were originally due to expire at the end of 2023.

Under the new arrangements announced today, CTM and MTel’s licenses will be further extended from October 1, 2024 to September 30, 2025.

Early this year, Derby Lau Wai Meng, director of the Posts and Telecommunications Bureau (CTT), said authorities would pursue reforms in the sector within the nine-month extension period to ensure a fair market environment.

Regarding the issuance of convergence licenses for telecom providers, which will be included in the new telecom law, Ms. Lau said progress in this area has temporarily stalled and related work still needs to be continued.

In 2019, the government held a public consultation on the Telecommunications Network and Service Convergence Framework.

However, the bill is yet to reach the Legislative Assembly for legislation.

Considering that it may still take some time before the legislation is promulgated – and given the development of 5G in recent years – the SAR government has decided to launch a public tender for the issuance through an administrative regulation in June 2022 of 5G licenses.

A total of two tenders were received from operators and on November 7, 2022, the government granted 5G licenses to CTM and China Telecom respectively.