PCCW is Hong Kong’s largest telecoms operator; with the most extensive fixed line coverage and over 2.6 million fixed line subscribers, PCCW controls a 68% market share – far outpacing its nearest competitor. In addition to standard home and business voice and broadband services, PCCW is also the only telecom provider in Hong Kong with mobile and television broadcasting rights and the only operator that can provide all four services in one. The following is a summary of PCCW’s fixed line, broadband, mobile, and IPTV market share in Hong Kong, as of mid 2008:
- 2.6 million fixed line subscribers — 68% market share
- 1.275 million broadband subscribers (1.1 million home broadband subscribers) — 58% market share
- 923 thousand IPTV subscribers — 60% market share (compared to cable TV)
- 1.176 million mobile subscribers (288 thousand 3G subscribers) — 12% market share
In late 2006, PCCW began expanding its Wi-Fi hotspot coverage from 300 hotspots to nearly 4,000 in mid 2008, and predicts it will reach 5,500 hotspots by the end of 2009. PCCW hotspots can be found in numerous locations throughout Hong Kong, including convenience stores, coffee shops, restaurants, shopping centers, large housing complexes, phone booths and subway stations. PCCW sees Wi-Fi as an important component of its mobile data strategy. PCCW’s Wi-Fi development strategy is based on the following:
- Demand stems from growing consumer use of Wi-Fi technology. In recent years, the proliferation of end user devices like the iPhone and other Wi-Fi-enabled handhelds, along with the explosive growth of netbooks has driven Wi-Fi use at hotspots.
- The combination of Wi-Fi and 3G + HSPA can provide users with city-wide wireless data access, reducing carriers’ reliance on pure 3G networks to provide data service. This not only reduces the load on the existing 3G + HSPA networks, but also reduces the need for further investment in 3G equipment and provides users with faster and higher bandwidth wireless service.
- The increasing availability of Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices on the market will result in consumers growing more accustomed to using Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet. This in turn will drive increasing use of Wi-Fi hotspots and expanding coverage.