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Housing in Hong Kong
Telephone in Hong Kong: Fixed Lines
In 1882, the Oriental Telephone and Electric Company launched Hong Kong’s first public telephone service. Since then, Hong Kong’s telephone market has come a long way, with constant introductions of new services and providers and the full liberalization of the telecommunications market in 2000.
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Although mobile phones and the Internet have all but taken over the telecommunications market, fixed line telephone services in Hong Kong are still in demand. A great number of providers in Hong Kong offer services which cater to telephone, mobile phone, and internet users as well as combo packages. An alternative to the traditional landline is the IP Telephony Service that many providers offer.
Despite their modern networks and services, not all Hong Kong telephone service providers offer services in every district. Some networks only cover certain parts of Hong Kong. Make sure to find out which districts your provider covers before you sign anything.
Telephone in Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s Telephone Service Providers
Among the many licensed Hong Kong telephone service providers, the five biggest and most popular companies are:
- PCCW-HK Telephone and Hong Kong Telecommunications (HKT)
- Hutchinson Global Communications (HGC)
- Hong Kong Cable Television (i-Cable)
- New World Telecommunications (NWT)
- Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN)
Out of these five, PCCW is Hong Kong’s largest provider for fixed lines, and you can also request your PCCW connection online. Furthermore, they are only company obligated to provide universal service. This means PCCW has to offer the same services at the same price to any household anywhere in Hong Kong, regardless of district or exact location. Other telephone companies are free to choose the districts in which they operate. This is usually a strictly commercial decision.
The large number of service operators and the liberalization of the local telecommunications market make for a competitive environment when it comes to prices and quality of service. Therefore it is very important to research all the companies above carefully to find the right offer for your personal needs.
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Telephone in Hong Kong: Phone Contracts
Before you sign a contract, it is important to know the terms and conditions in order to understand which telephone services are covered and which situations could become problematic or expensive.
- Fixed-Term Contract. Most contracts run for a fixed term of 12 or 24 months. If you want to or have to cancel your contract before the end of that period, you will be charged a penalty fee.
- Network Coverage. As mentioned before, not all of Hong Kong’s districts are covered by every service provider. If you decide to move to a new location, you may not be able to use their services there and may have to cancel your contract. If your contract is of the fixed-term kind, you will be charged a penalty fee.
- NSD (Notification of Service Disconnection) Form. You have to complete this form if you want to keep your current telephone number after a change of contract. You have to provide your name, ID card number and business registration number (if applicable). Try to make sure that this information is the same as that on your contract. Otherwise, your provider may refuse your request.
- Value Added Services. Special services may be handled differently by every provider. A service you have enjoyed so far may not be available with your new provider or may be a lot more expensive.
Telephone in Hong Kong: IP Telephony
In addition to traditional fixed lines, many service providers also offer IP Telephony via broadband internet connections. Here, you can choose between “class 1 service” and “class 2 service.”
Class 1 service basically offers the same features a conventional phone connection. The numbers are eight digits with “2” or “3” as prefix. Class 2 service does not provide everything a conventional phone line would. There is no number portability, which means that, as soon as you change your provider or change from class 2 to class 1, you will lose your number. Class 2 service numbers also consist of eight digits, with “57” or “58” as prefix. Your provider must declare that they offer class 2 services.
Both services have to supply a free access to emergency call services. The quality of IP telephony services depends on the internet network they use. Try to get more details on the connection quality from your provider. Also enquire about restrictions and payment schemes on long-distance calls. As is the case with conventional telephone connections, you should find out in advance which districts and areas are covered by your provider and how a contract cancellation works.