HONGKONG Telecom has sacked 45 management and professional staff in the past two months because of increasing competition, chief executive Linus Cheung Wing-lam says. 'It's not like the old days any more when we had the monopoly [on fixed lines],' Mr Cheung said yesterday. 'We now have to adopt a new management to bring us forward.' The sackings, considered small compared with the 3,000 employees holding management positions, were aimed at enhancing performance and accountability rather than saving costs, he said. 'I'm going to make managers accountable for what they do and, meanwhile, simplify the decision-making procedures and make it less bureaucratic than before,' Mr Cheung said. The group lost its monopoly over fixed-line services on June 30 last year and Mr Cheung said the impact would be felt in the second half of this year. The company would have to adapt to meet the future and it was keen to move into the interactive multimedia service which was expected to enhance the group's long-term earnings, he said. Wharf Cable is pursuing legal action to stop Hongkong Telecom launching its own video-on-demand. Wharf said the group's entry into the market infringed on its three-year exclusive licence to provide pay-television service. 'Technology makes it possible that we can do that through a telephone line, and it will be a shame if we're stalled because someone says they've got a franchise to protect,' Mr Cheung said. Hongkong Telecom yesterday signed an agreement with Taiwan's International Telecommunications Authority to extend the Global Managed Data Service operated by its British parent, Cable & Wireless, to Taiwan. It is a one-stop service to provide multinationals with the networking they need in telecommunications.