$10b 'top whack for Telecom'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 February, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 February, 1998, 12:00am

The compensation package for Hongkong Telecom to give up its monopoly will not exceed $10 billion, the Telecommunication Authority says.

Although provisional legislators were told earlier that the package might reach $13.2 billion, authority director-general Anthony Wong Sik-kei said he believed the benefit was below $10 billion.

This would include $6.7 billion in cash compensation and $3.3 billion in gradual tariff increases on residential lines and savings in royalties.

The reduced estimate was based on the belief the company would lose market share, Mr Wong said.

'The whole package is very reasonable and Hong Kong as a whole is the winner,' he said.

He said the average monthly household spending on calls would drop from $136 with more competition.

He said officials were not prepared to return to the negotiating table if provisional legislators voted down the multi-billion-dollar package.

'If we don't have the approval, we will end up with nothing,' he said.