China Mobile Hong Kong's transition from 2G to 4G has given them a great opportunity to win both new revenue and market share in one of the world's toughest mobile market.

The world´s biggest carrier by subscribers, China Mobile recently faced a huge challenge in Hong Kong as their network infrastructure creaked under the weight of a huge rise in mobile data usage. While competitors were already on 3G, China Mobile Hong Kong was still delivering 2G technology.

China Mobile Hong Kong wasn’t content just to catch up; instead, they took the bold decision to overtake the competition and transform their entire mobile network, going straight from 2G to 4G LTE technology.

That transition meant a range of new and complex challenges had to be overcome – technical, operational and business – and it would require a partner who could handle every aspect of the transformation.

If China Mobile Hong Kong succeeded, not only would they bring cutting-edge broadband experience to their subscribers, they would also have the opportunity to dramatically increase both revenue and market share.

Sean Lee, Director and CEO of China Mobile Hong Kong, says LTE was not a mature technology when they started the transformation process, but growth in demand for mobile data required a quantum leap in capacity. So it joined forces with Ericsson.

The transformation required careful consideration of all aspects of the change. Kenny Hung, head of Ericsson’s Project Management Office, says going from 2G to 4G is a very big step. Major changes had to be considered, not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of operations.

From around the world, Ericsson brought in experts to support the project: technical expertise, the skills to manage the network through an Operational Readiness Program*, and a consulting service to assist China Mobile Hong Kong in defining the new offerings that 4G would make possible.

Hong Kong itself brings its own special set of challenges – surrounded by mountains, water and high buildings, it is one of the most densely-populated places on the planet. The city is one of the most complex radio environments in the world, as described by Ericsson Hong Kong and Macau President Laurence McDonald.

Working together, Ericsson and China Mobile Hong Kong have transformed more than the operator’s mobile network. We have transformed the expectations of subscribers throughout one of the world’s most extreme cities.

To quote China Mobile Hong Kong CEO Sean Lee, it is about living up to the operator’s motto “LEADING THE CHANGE” and the success of this approach is easy to see: 50 percent of China Mobile’s new subscribers in Hong Kong now sign up for the 4G service.

*Operational Readiness: End-to-end and day-to-day O&M service to assure optimal network performance, while providing buildup of organization and interfaces, processes and procedures, tools and competence, to meet operator's launch requirements.

More facts

Hong Kong, with its mountains, harbor and rivers, and densely built high-rises, is one of the world’s most complex mobile communications environments.

Demand for mobile broadband constantly increasing. In 2009, average data usage per customer was 36MB. Now it exceeds 700MB, a 20-fold increase.

Network and commercial transformation has produced dramatic improvements in speed and capacity, as well as a vastly improved customer experience.

50 percent of new users have 4G.