Operators in Hong Kong have launched 5G services since April 2020. In order to fully enjoy the benefits brought about by 5G services, mobile users need to use suitable 5G handsets. Here are some tips on how to select a suitable 5G handset.

Support for 5G services in Hong Kong

5G handset models available in the market (especially those on sale in overseas markets or overseas online shops) may not support all the technical features and functionalities of the local 5G networks and services in Hong Kong (such as the function for receiving emergency messages disseminated through the Emergency Alert Systems of mobile network operators). Before purchasing a 5G handset, in particular from shops (including online shops) outside Hong Kong, you are advised to carefully read the product information provided for the handset and check with the seller if necessary to ensure that the model of 5G handset you are interested in supports 5G services in Hong Kong, including all the features and functionalities that you would use.

Support for 5G Frequency Bands in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, operators deploys spectrum in various 5G new radio (NR) frequency bands for the provision of 5G services. The NR bands which are extensively used by one or more local operators for providing 5G services include –

NR Bands Frequency Bands Duplex Mode
n1 1.9 – 2.2 GHz band Frequency-division duplexing
n78 3.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands Time-division duplexing
n79 4.9 GHz band Time-division duplexing

Before purchasing a 5G handset, you are advised to check and make sure that the 5G handset supports the relevant NR bands deployed by your service provider in Hong Kong.

Operators may deploy spectrum in more frequency bands in future for the provision of 5G services (a list of frequency bands currently assigned for the provision of mobile services in Hong Kong can be found at this webpage). Besides, new spectrum in other NR bands, such as 600 MHz band (n71) and 700 MHz band (n28), will be released to the market through auction to be conducted later this year. Users should consider purchasing 5G handsets that support frequency bands that are being deployed by local mobile network operators for access to 5G services in Hong Kong, and/or for access to 5G services when travelling to other places where 5G services are provided at similar frequency bands.

5G Handsets Supporting Use of More Than One SIM Cards

Some 5G handsets support installation of more than one SIM card, which may be eSIM or physical SIM cards. When considering purchase of such 5G handsets, you are advised to check whether all the SIM cards installed for use with a particular handset can be active at the same time, allowing you to receive calls to the telephone number of any of the SIM cards installed in your handset. It is also advisable to find out whether all the SIM card slots can support 5G connectivity at the same time or whether there would be limitations of 5G communications when all the SIM cards installed are active.

Wi-Fi Standards Supported

Apart from 5G connectivity, 5G handsets in general support Wi-Fi connectivity, enabling the users to have data communications through Wi-Fi at places like home, office or public places where Wi-Fi is available. Like mobile technologies, Wi-Fi technologies are evolving. If you want to enjoy the benefits brought by a more advanced version of Wi-Fi standard (such as Wi-Fi 6 based on the IEEE 802.11ax standard), you need to make sure that both your handset and Wi-Fi router support the advanced version of Wi-Fi standard.

Support for Reception of Emergency Alert System (EAS) Messages

You are advised to select 5G handsets that support reception of EAS messages so that you are able to receive important real-time messages disseminated by the Government through EAS during emergency situations. Further information about the EAS can be found at the thematic webpage. You may also refer to a list of the brands and models of mobile devices that support reception of EAS messages, compiled based on information provided by the mobile device suppliers / manufacturers. If you have any questions about a handset's capability in receiving EAS messages, you may contact your mobile service provider or the relevant handset supplier / manufacturer.

Support for Mobile Applications

Individual mobile application (App) is not necessarily able to run on all mobile handsets. It quite depends on the operating system and version installed in the handsets. Before buying a 5G handset, you are advised to ascertain that the handset supports all the mobile Apps you intend to use.

 

Office of the Communications Authority
June 2021