Hutchison Whampoa

Three HK steps up high-speed migration

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 10:51pm


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Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong, which reported solid first-half earnings, plans to accelerate the transfer of all of its remaining 2G mobile subscribers to the company's high-speed 3G and 4G networks.

Chief executive Peter Wong King-fai said yesterday that an 'internal upward migration' to a total smartphone customer base is 'the key to nurturing higher growth in [the company's] mobile business'.

Three Hong Kong, the mobile unit of Hutchison Telecom, had 3.64 million subscribers in the city and in Macau at the end of June. About 79 per cent of that number, or 2.87 million, are either on 3G or 4G tariff plans.

That leaves some 770,000 2G network subscribers as candidates for an upgrade.

Wong said that having more users of internet-ready smartphones on either of Three Hong Kong's 3G or 4G networks 'will stimulate demand for greater data service offerings', which would translate to higher monthly average revenue per user (Arpu).

Hutchison Telecom, which operates both wireless and fixed-line networks, posted a 15 per cent increase in first-half net profit to HK$568 million from a year earlier, on the back of brisk smartphone sales and higher use of data services. Total revenue rose 12 per cent to HK$6.73 billion.

Revenue from mobile services grew 15 per cent year on year to HK$5.24 billion in the first half. The monthly Arpu of Three Hong Kong's 3G and 4G subscribers reached HK$253 in the first half, up from HK$245 a year ago.

Turnover for the fixed-line business was up 4 per cent year on year to HK$1.72 billion.

Wong said the company's 4G services covered about 90 per cent of the city, with full coverage expected within this quarter.

Advanced 4G networks have theoretical web download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, while the fastest 3G networks run at 42Mbps.

'We see further growth potential in our fixed-line business,' Wong said.

He pointed out that the 'growing need for cloud computing and data centre services is creating a fertile new business market' for Hutchison Telecom.

Hutchison Global Communications, the fixed-line unit of Hutchison Telecom, teamed up earlier this year with technology giant Oracle, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and other major carriers in a consortium that aims to accelerate adoption of cloud computing in the business community.

Hutchison Telecom shares slipped 0.80 per cent to close at HK$3.74 yesterday.