Telecom 'stalls' exchange access

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 May, 1997, 12:00am

Hongkong Telecom is slowing the rate at which new operators can offer residential services by holding back access to its exchanges, says New T&T president Leslie Harris.

Under the terms of the licences, the new operators are allowed, for a charge, to install their own equipment in Hongkong Telecom's exchanges to divert calls to their networks.

Mr Harris said Hongkong Telecom was slowing the process by not providing space for the necessary interconnectors.

'The procedure is not moving along lines we thought we had agreed,' he said.

New T&T, a unit of Wharf (Holdings), had hoped to put its own interconnecting equipment in 15 exchanges by the end of this year.

'Now we are looking at eight to 10 instead,' Mr Harris said.

He said the new operators - New T&T, New World Telecom and Hutchison Telecom - were in discussions with Hongkong Telecom over the problem.

The space issue affects the roll-out of residential rather than business services.

Higher revenue-earning business customers are often served by leasing a line directly between a new operator's own fibre-optic backbone and the office, rather than interconnecting at the exchange level.

New T&T yesterday unveiled some of the cheapest long distance rates ever seen in Hong Kong.

The promotion pays customers to talk for longer. For example, if a customer calls the United States for more than 27 minutes, the entire call is charged at $1.69.