Feature Article

February 07, 2012

China's 21Vianet Acquires 2.3 GHz Band for Broadband Wireless Access in Hong Kong

China’s largest carrier-neutral Internet datacenter services provider 21Vianet Group has announced that it is a provisional successful bidder for radio spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band to provide broadband wireless access (BWA) services in Hong Kong. According to 21Vianet, it is one of three provisional successful bidders, each of whom won one frequency band of 30 MHz.

The datacenter services provider said that 21Vianet submitted a final bid of HK $150 million (US $19.3 million), which was the minimum bidding price set by the Hong Kong Telecommunications Authority.The service provider said that The Hong Kong Telecommunications Authority will issue a 15-year unified telecommunications carrier license to successful bidders, allowing licensees to provide fixed, mobile or a combination of these services using the licensees' frequency bands. Media reports indicate that provisional successful bidders will be required to pay spectrum utilization fees within 30 business days and submit a refundable performance bond of HK $150 million (US$19.3 million) as a guarantee of compliance with the network and service rollout requirements.

To finance the BWA spectrum license, 21Vianet said that it has obtained a non-binding letter of intent from China Development Bank. In this letter, the bank has indicated its intention to provide a US $30 million credit facility to 21Vianet, said the company.

 In a statement, Josh Chen, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of 21Vianet, said, "We are focused on capturing the best market opportunities and are pleased to win the Hong Kong spectrum auction with the minimum required bid." “We believe that this opportunity is a cost-effective means of opening up more growth opportunities for 21Vianet. We are seeing an accelerating business trend towards accessing data through the mobile Internet. By extending our Internet infrastructure services into the wireless Internet, we aim to further embed 21Vianet into the core Internet infrastructure in Greater China," noted Chen.

Furthermore, Ched added, "To utilize the BWA spectrum, we aim to partner with established mobile operators to successfully extend our service offerings." He continued, "At the same time, we also want to reaffirm our commitment to a carrier-neutral value position and our intent to remain a B2B service provider. Our focus remains on becoming more integrated with the broader Internet data network throughout Greater China."

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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