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SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings
Traded asSEHK315
IndustryMobile telecommunication
Founded1992 in British Hong Kong
HeadquartersHong Kong
Area served
Key people
  • SmarTone
  • Extra
ServicesMobile broadband and fixed fibre broadband services
Number of employees
Decrease 1,898[1]:12 (full-time only, 30 June 2018)
ParentSun Hung Kai Properties
  • SmarTone Mobile Communications
  • SmarTone-Comunicações Móveis

SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Limited, trading as SmarTone (Chinese: 數碼通) is a telecommunications company headquartered in Hong Kong. The group provided services via their operating subsidiaries, such as SmarTone Mobile Communications Limited in Hong Kong and SmarTone – Comunicações Móveis, S.A. in Macau, two special administrative regions of China. The company provides voice, multimedia and mobile broadband services[1] through its territory-wide 4G and 3G networks, as well as fixed fibre broadband services for the consumer and corporate markets,[2] and plain SIM card. SmarTone is a subsidiary of Hong Kong conglomerate Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Company overview[edit]

The company is a mobile phone operator in Hong Kong. It provides service on GSM-900, GSM-1800, W-CDMA (on the 2100 MHz frequency) and LTE-2600 with the brand SmarTone.

The holding company of the SmarTone group, SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Limited, is 70.98% owned by Sun Hung Kai Properties.[1]:35 SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings is incorporated in Bermuda[1]:2 as an offshore company.

SmarTone Mobile Communications is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings, via SmarTone (BVI) Limited.[1]:105 SmarTone-Comunicações Móveis, S.A., or known as SmarTone Macau, is 72% owned by SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings indirectly.[1]:105


SmarTone was launched by Sun Hung Kai Properties and ABC Communications in 1992. It started operations in March 1993 as the first GSM network in Hong Kong and in Asia.[citation needed] It used to have another branding EXTRA for its GSM-1800-only packages obtained by the acquisition of P Plus Communications in March 1998. The brand EXTRA ended in 2002 and was merged into SmarTone's dual-band network.[3]

A new branding "SmarTone-Vodafone" was officially launched in April 2005, following a partnership agreement with Vodafone in December 2004. This brand name was used only in Hong Kong. SmarTone retained its original brand name in Macau.

On 19 September 2011, SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Limited announced that it would not renew its marketing co-operation with Vodafone and reverted its brand to SmarTone from December 2011.[4]

Network Development[5][edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

Frequencies used on SmarTone in Hong Kong
Frequency Frequency Width Protocol Notes
850 MHz (832.5~837.5;877.5~882.5) [6] 2*5 MHz GSM/LTE
900 MHz (910~915;955~960) 2*5 MHz GSM/LTE
1800 MHz (1710~1720;1805~1815)+(1740~1750;1835~1845) 2*20 MHz ( not contiguous) GSM/LTE
2100 MHz (1920.3 – 1925.3;2110.3 – 2115.3)+(1960.0 – 1964.9;2150.0 – 2154.9) 2*20 MHz ( not contiguous) LTE
2600 MHz (2520~2530;2640~2650) 2*10 MHz LTE


  • March 1993 – Launched Asia's first GSM mobile service
  • December 1993 – Launched Asia's first auto-GSM roaming service
  • December 2002 – Launched SmarTone iN! – Proprietary advanced multimedia services mobile portal for customers
  • August 2012 – Re-farmed the 2G 1800 MHz frequency band for its 4G LTE network and put into use [7]
  • September 2014 – Announced in the 2013/2014 Annual Results Announcement that it started to re-farm its 2G 900 MHz spectrum for 4G LTE, to provide even better coverage. The re-farming targets to complete at the end of 2014 [8]


  • December 2004 – Launched 3G services
  • July 2007 – Became the first company in the world to enable customers to stream flash video when browsing on any 3G feature phone
  • April 2010 – Debut 28.8Mbit/s HSPA+ network
  • September 2001 – Successfully bid the 3G license in Hong Kong [9]
  • March 2011 – Won the auction for 850 MHz frequency band for its 3G service [10]


  • August 2012 – Launched its 4G service with 1800 MHz spectrum, supporting all 4G smartphones available in Hong Kong. 1800 MHz spectrum provides better indoor coverage than higher frequency spectrum [11]
  • September 2012 – Became the only Hong Kong mobile operator approved by Apple to offer 4G on iPhone 5. SmarTone emphasized that “it is the only operator in HK offers 4G network on iPhone 5" [12]
  • November 2012 – Extended 4G LTE coverage on all MTR Island Line stations and targets to offer 4G LTE coverage at all MTR stations and its connecting tunnels in early 2013 [13][14]
  • January 2013 – Provided 4G LTE network along the seven MTR lines (Island Line, Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Tseng Kwan O Line, Tung Chung Line, Disney Line and the Airport Express). In the same year, it successfully bid for 2 x 10 MHz at the 2600 MHz frequency band for its 4G network to expand its network capacity and offer higher speed [15][16]
  • December 2013 – Extended its 4G coverage to KCR’s lines (East Rail Line, West Rail Line and Ma On Shan Line) and Lok Ma Chau Line [17]
  • August 2014 – Launched VoLTE service but only supported selected smartphone models [18]
  • September 2014 – Commenced the re-farming of 2G 900MHZ spectrum for its 4G LTE, to provide better indoor coverage. Target to complete the re-farming end of this year. SmarTone planned to meet the growing data demand with cell densification, small cell technologies, LTE-Advanced, as well as refarming [19][20]
  • October 2016 – Extended 4G coverage to the new MTR Kwun Tong Line Extension, covering the new Whampoa and Ho Man Tin stations [21]
  • December 2016 - Extended 4.5G coverage to the new South Island Line, including Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang, Lei Tung and South Horizons stations and deployed additional 2100 MHz spectrum to all MTR lines [22]


  • November 2016 – Partnered with Ericsson for a five-year partnership toward 5G, commencing early trials and pilot deployments of key pre-5G technologies to take place in Q4 2016 [23]



  • July 2001 – Launched GSM mobile service in Macau


  • July 2010 – Launched 3G service in Macau


  • November 2015 – Launched 4G service in Macau

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g 2017–18 Annual Report (PDF). SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings. 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  2. ^ " - SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Limited".
  3. ^ 數碼通統一品牌結束Extra 下月合併十二門市 客戶可轉用雙頻網. 太陽報 [Sun] (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Oriental Press Group. 22 July 2002. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Smarttone Vodafone agree not to renew marketing cooperation". Fox Business. 19 September 2011.[dead link]
  5. ^ SmarTone> >About Us > Our Company > Milestones 2016-07-26
  6. ^
  7. ^ SmarTone to join Hong Kong 4G war
  8. ^ SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Limited: 2013 / 2014 ANNUAL RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT
  9. ^ 3G Auction Results Announcement
  10. ^ SmarTone-Vodafone bids successfully for 850 MHz spectrum
  11. ^ Hong Kong casts wide 4G coverage after SmarTone launch
  12. ^ SmarTone provides iPhone 5's first 4G network in Hong Kong
  13. ^ SmarTone extends 4G coverage to all MTR lines
  14. ^ 4G服務已經喺今日覆蓋港島沿綫所有地鐵站同埋其連接嘅隧道內
  15. ^ Incumbent cellcos win 2.5GHz/2.6GHz spectrum
  16. ^ SmarTone successfully bids for 2600MHz spectrum
  17. ^ SmarTone completes 4G coverage on MTR
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Limited: 2013/2014 ANNUAL RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT
  20. ^ SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Limited: 2011/2012 ANNUAL RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT
  21. ^ SmarTone deploying 4G at two new HK rail lines 2016-10-24
  22. ^ [2]
  23. ^ SmarTone teams with Ericsson to prepare for 5G era

External links[edit]