Following is the full text of a speech by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Information Technology and Broadcasting), Mr Francis Ho, at a workshop on "Bridging the Gap - Development of Mobile Multi-Media, Value-added and Content Applications in the New Era" today (September 10): (English only)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, good morning, let me welcome all of you to this 2-day workshop entitled "Bridging the Gap - Development of Mobile Multi-media, Value-added and Content Applications in the New Era". This is the first workshop of its kind organised by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA), and it is timely as we are entering into a new era for mobile communications.
The emergence of advanced mobile technologies like 2.5G and the upcoming 3G services have posed unprecedented business opportunities for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. Growth in this area is always at such a rate that never fails to impress us.
Hong Kong is well placed to reap the fullest benefits of the opportunities ahead. Mobile coverage is almost ubiquitous throughout the territory. Our market is highly competitive. It has led to a wide choice of quality mobile services at very reasonable prices. We have a mature and sophisticated market providing the best platform for mobile operators and enterprises to develop and test out new mobile applications and services. Indeed, Hong Kong's mobile operators have been leaders in introducing innovative services and applications, and we are very proud of that. Our operators lead in launching GPRS services on a pilot basis as early as in July 2000. Riding on the GPRS platform, Hong Kong is also the first in Asia to introduce Multi-media Messaging Services (MMS). More recently our operators are among the first in the world to bring to their corporate clients one-stop mobile email access services.
This is a crucial time for the industry to explore the full business potential arising from advanced mobile services like 3G. We envisage that 3G will be run on a completely different business model, unlike traditional mobile voice telephony services. The revenue sources will no longer be bound to voice transmission services. Data transmission services, value-added services and content provision will become driving engines of revenue growth. The key to success, however, lies in the close collaboration of all relevant parties: the regulator, mobile operators, equipment vendors, and applications and content providers.
For the regulator, he needs to establish a fair and clear regulatory framework to provide a level playing field for all industry players. Mobile operators need to run their networks efficiently and reliably for smooth delivery of various value-added services, and interconnect their networks promptly and properly to enable customers on different networks to communicate. Equipment vendors also have a vital role to play by ensuring inter-operability of different handsets and equipment. For applications and content providers, our consumers will look to them for innovative applications and services that improve the quality of life in the information age. I believe our small and medium sized enterprises, with their entrepreneurial spirit and astute market sense, will be able to tap into the vast business opportunities offered by the next generation mobile communications.
The Government and the regulator have completed the 3G licensing exercise and established the regulatory framework. We have spearheaded the royalty auction and the open network requirement. I believe that we have given Hong Kong a sustainable and viable framework for the industry to run their 3G businesses. The tasks ahead are, however, enormous. We simply cannot afford not to work together to ensure that 3G becomes a popular and attractive service.
I am most pleased to see that as a further step to promote the development of the new generation mobile services, OFTA has organised this workshop to inspire new ideas in our industry. The workshop has brought together all the key players: the regulator, mobile operators, equipment vendors, and applications and content providers to exchange ideas and build up their capacity to capitalise on the opportunities ahead. I am sure you will find the workshop productive and useful.
End/Tuesday, September 10, 2002