Withdrawal of licensing exemptions for PHS radiocommunications apparatus

The following is issued on behalf of the Communications Authority:

     The Communications Authority (CA) today (April 22) announced that the licensing exemptions for Personal Handy Phone System (PHS) radiocommunications apparatus operating in the 1895 - 1906.1 MHz band will be withdrawn in phases from May 10, 2013.

     "PHS is a short- and medium-range mobile radiocommunications technology developed in Japan and introduced into Hong Kong in 1997 mainly for use as cordless telephones. However, the deployment of PHS in Hong Kong has not been as successful as anticipated. In fact, such products are no longer available for sale in the local market," said a spokesman for the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA), the executive agency of the CA.

     "The withdrawal of licence exemption for PHS apparatus will enable us to vacate the valuable and limited resource of radio spectrum and deploy it in a more effective manner for other services. The arrangement will not affect other types of cordless telephones, such as those operating in the 2.4 GHz band or the 5 GHz band, and Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) telephones operating in the 1880-1900 MHz band," the spokesman added.

     From May 10, 2013, onwards, no person shall carry PHS apparatus into Hong Kong or sell such apparatus in the local market. Any person guilty of the offence of such illegal import shall be liable to a fine of HK$25,000 and imprisonment for 12 months. Any person guilty of the offence of such illegal sale shall be liable to a fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment for two years.

     "Telecommunications traders are therefore encouraged to plan ahead in light of the upcoming withdrawal of licence exemption," the spokesman said.

     Members of the public who are currently using PHS apparatus may continue to do so up to May 9, 2016. After this three-year grace period, no person shall possess or use such apparatus. Offenders shall be liable to a fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment for two years upon conviction.

     "We will hold a series of publicity activities in the run up to May 2016 to inform the public on the phased arrangements. We have also issued a circular to alert relevant parties in the telecommunications industry about the impending changes," the spokesman said.

     Members of public who wish to obtain relevant information or find out whether the cordless telephone or other radiocommunications apparatus that they are using is a PHS may visit OFCA's website at www.ofca.gov.hk/phs or call OFCA's hotline at 2961 6333.

Ends/Monday, April 22, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:09