Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 November, 2009, 12:00am

Data overload a headache, theoretically speaking

All the recent publicity over attempts to force property developers to tell the truth about what they are selling seems to have spooked SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings into coming clean about its broadband services.

The subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties has taken out a series of advertisements to 'blow away those dodgy speed promises'.

Just like property developers being selective with the floors of luxury tower blocks or exaggerating the size of a flat, telecommunications companies also get carried away when it comes to dealing with numbers.

SmarTone admits in its advert the actual download speed of its 'Power 21 Plan' mobile broadband network service is typically two to 14Mbps.

Likewise, the actual speed of the 'Power 7 Plan' is two to 6Mbps, while the only one that comes close is the 'Power 3 Plan', which has actual speeds of two to 3Mbps.

But that's not all. Having started to tell the truth, it seems there's no stopping SmarTone, which goes to even more lengths on its website to explain this attack of conscience.

'There is a difference between theoretical speeds and typical usable speeds and we believe our customers should understand it as well,' it says.

'Even if your network supports 21Mbps, it's almost impossible to reach those theoretical maximum speeds, because some bandwidth is inevitably used for signalling and performance control management.

'Actual connection speeds can be affected by many different factors, including relative position between you and the base station, download server source, internet traffic conditions, number of users, your computer hardware and software ...'

I think we preferred it when they just lied.

Birthday boy's bright idea

Someone's loss usually turns out to be somebody else's gain.

Such is the case for Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who has taken a lot of flak over the light bulb saga, but someone who has benefited from the energy saving policy is Richard Li Tzar-kai.

This week Li and a group of investors, including Value Partners, bought a 10 per cent stake in little-known AV Concept Holdings, which plans to enter the light-emitting diode (LED) market.

The Li consortium invested HK$31 million, buying AV Concept at 68.1 HK cents a share and immediately sat on a near 50 per cent paper profit - assuming they have not sold the shares. Not a bad present for Li's 43rd birthday tomorrow.

Light-bulb players have proved to be the main beneficiaries of Tsang's policy address last month, when he promoted efficient lighting for Hong Kong. However, in the process he got into hot water for being perceived to have favoured an in-law's light-bulb business, an issue that has sent his popularity index to an all-time low.

In the meantime, light-bulb stocks have continued to shine. AV Concept is up 50 per cent since October 16, when the light-bulb saga began, while Neo-neon Holdings is up 23 per cent in the same period.

Encore by ex-fund boss

For 28 years fund manager Anthony Bolton's recommendations were music to the ears of countless investors.

The president of investment for financial giant Fidelity may have retired from running funds 18 months ago, but the music continues.

A selection of Christmas carols written by Bolton (left) will be performed during the Masters of Music charity concert at St John's Cathedral later this month.

In addition to favourites by Handel and Haydn, Bolton's Garland of Carols, which he says was inspired by a Benjamin Britten work, will be performed to raise money for several charities, including the continuing refurbishment of the cathedral and Aids education.