Hong Kong Telecom (PCCW) takes legal action against the fact that Apple freezing use of their 4G LTE network

Hong Kong Telecom (PCCW) takes legal action against the fact that Apple freezing use of their 4G LTE network


Hong Kong Telecom (also known as PCCW) has taken legal action at the Hong Kong High Court seeking to reverse the decision of the Communication Authority in the communication ordinance. Apple announced firstly that Smartone Hong Kong will get support for iPhone 5’s 4G LTE on the iPhone 5 announcement event in September 2012. After that 3HK and one2free confirmed that iPhone 5 would be sold too and showed dissatisfaction of smartone’s logo solely appearing on Apple’s announcement event as a representative of Hong Kong.

Apple unlocked the nano sim card for the three carriers in Hong Kong phase by phase. However, HKT has been excluded from Apple’s iPhone 5 4G reception. iPhone 5 users on PCCW can only receive 3G signal despite its LTE is turned on. PCCW complained to the authority based on the anti-competition law that prevents manipulation of the telecom market. However, its complaint was rejected by the authority because the official thought that had nothing to do with anti-competition actions. Therefore, HKT decided to file a judicial review to the High Court and requesting the authority to respond in 21 days.

My comments on the above news would be: I support the views of HKT. First, apple made clear on their promotional slogans of the iPhone 5s in Hong Kong is “unlocked and ready to use”. That leads to reasonable expectation of customers that the iPhone 5 is unlocked without any carrier restrictions applied. However, what apple is doing right now is banning use of 4G LTE network of PCCW iPhone 5 users. Is that what unlock means? Secondly, although the authority said it has nothing to do with anti-competition legislation, I think there’s somehow a way Apple uses to protect the interest of the 3 authorized carriers selling iPhone 5. That is the make sure they have 4G unlocked on their iPhone 5 and not letting others to. Obviously, this case is arguable and PCCW has somehow done the right thing to plug the legal loopholes.

Image source: store.apple.com/hk

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