OFCA's statement in response to article on broadcast-type mobile television service in Next Magazine

     In response to references made to the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) in an article on broadcast-type mobile television service (Mobile TV Service) published in the latest issue of Next Magazine, OFCA made the following clarifications today (March 19):

     "As an independent statutory regulator, the Communications Authority (CA) has, since its establishment in April 2012, exercised its statutory functions to regulate the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors in Hong Kong in accordance with inter-alia the Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562) and the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap. 106).  

     In carrying out its regulatory work, the CA has all along employed its own external independent legal advisors to provide legal advice. Regarding the recent issue about Mobile TV Service, the CA has also commissioned an independent legal advisor with the addition of a Queen's Counsel in London to provide legal advice to the CA/OFCA.  

     Regarding the recent issue about Mobile TV Service, neither the CA nor OFCA has sought legal advice from the Department of Justice (DoJ). DoJ has not given any legal advice to CA/OFCA. Next Magazine's report about OFCA seeking advice from DoJ and its decision being made as per DoJ's instructions does not accord with the facts at all.

     Besides, the sequence of events relating to the recent disputes regarding Mobile TV Services are as follows:

January 17: OFCA wrote to Hong Kong Mobile Television Network Limited (HKMTV), requesting it to provide information on its Mobile TV Service, including such information on the proposed transmission standard;

January 23: HKMTV replied to OFCA, proposing switching its transmission standard for the provision of its Mobile TV Service from the originally adopted China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (CMMB) standard to the Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcasting (DTMB) standard;

24 January: OFCA convened two meetings with the representatives from HKMTV, when OFCA indicated to HKMTV that its proposed adoption of the DTMB standard might lead to its possible contravention of the Broadcasting Ordinance, and therefore suggested HKMTV to consider the use of other mobile television standards and implement other technically feasible measures to prevent the aforesaid circumstances from arising. OFCA also suggested arranging meetings with HKMTV on a more frequent basis in the hope of rendering assistance to resolve issues arising from the launch of its Mobile TV Service and its related operational matters;

February 6: OFCA sent the minutes of the meeting on January 24 to HKMTV;

From February 20 to March 4: The legal firm representing HKMTV sent a total of four letters to OFCA on February 20, 21, 28 and March 4, 2014 respectively, raising queries on and requesting OFCA to withdraw its views on the mobile television transmission standard conveyed to HKMTV at the meeting held on January 24, 2014;

March 11: Upon consulting the legal advice of the Queen's Counsel in London, OFCA responded through its external lawyer to the four letters issued earlier by HKMTV's lawyer.

     As to the complaint letter mentioned in the article as issued by Television Broadcasts Limited to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau and OFCA back in early February, after verification, the issue date of the said letter was in fact March 4, 2014."

Ends/Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:13