3 Hong Kong announced it has finished extending its 4.5G network to serve the local section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB).
The operator’s 4.5G network now covers the deck of the bridge and surrounding facilities, and will be ready to provide service as soon as the bridge opens to traffic.
3 Hong Kong also announced plans to launch of new and enhanced local tariff plans that allow customers to share their data entitlements throughout Hong Kong, mainland China and Macau as if they were on home ground.
3 Hong Kong began construction of the bridge’s network infrastructure earlier this year, establishing base stations in the Hong Kong section. This work included the Hong Kong Link Road, as well as facilities on the artificial island such as the Passenger Clearance Building, X- ray inspection facilities, Immigration Department and Customs and Excise Department clearance counters and various retail outlets. The first and last base stations went live in March and July this year respectively.
Telecoms projects were completed mid-July, and data and voice services have passed 4.5G network tests, said Cliff Woo executive director and CEO of 3 HK’s parent company HTHKH (Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings). Woo also claimes 3 HK is the first operator to complete mobile network coverage work for the bridge.
“When open, the HZMB will stimulate movement of people and logistics between mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, thereby increasing demand for data, so we have tailored innovative plans to suit differing customer needs,” Woo added. “By collaborating with 3Macau and mainland operators, we will enable consumer and corporate customers to share data entitlements in and between the three geographies with flexibility, and enjoy seamless connectivity.”
Just when the HZMB actually opens is unclear – the project has been far costlier than originally planned, and has been plagued by construction delays and a scandal involving fake tests. Meanwhile, according to the South China Morning Post, concerns have been raised in recent days over design flaws and water leakage.
A video from state broadcaster CCTV claims the bridge is ready to open, and will do so before the end of this year, but the mainland Chinese government has not yet announced an official date.