After 1010 came One2Free, and now we have 1+1. Hongkong Telecom's third branded mobile network had its launch this week. In reality, it is a relaunch of the Pacific Link D-Amps network (with 260,000 customers) it bought from First Pacific Co in January. Prior to that the network had been seen as floundering, adding few new subscribers over the preceding year, as the likes of One2Free, Hutchison and SmarTone were adding 10,000 customers a month. The trick for Hongkong Telecom is to reverse the network's fortunes and a perception that it is not up to the standard of the popular GSM and PCS offerings. Price obviously is one tool. Telecom has been forced to produce its lowest cellular prices yet to promote the network's use. At $178 a month for 101 minutes of air time, the service is cheap, but not the cheapest around. Hutchison Telecom's Xin Gan Xin CDMA and Everyday PCS networks charge $120 for 120 minutes of air time and PCS operator Peoples Phone charges $1 per minute. However, Telecom's mobile chief Allen Ma reckons pricing is only one part of the story. 'The Hongkong Telecom brand means something. Look at our commitment to investment. We waited five months after buying the network to relaunch, to make sure it was right,' he said. Mr Ma sees the market dividing into three segments. First, the high-value business customers targeted already by Telecom's 1010 service. Second, the young-orientated lifestyle customers served by One2Free. And third, the mass market of general users who do not fall into either category. This is where 1+1 is aimed. 'Two years ago I said this wouldn't be a profitable segment [for Telecom] because I can make more money from the first and second segments with the capacity I had at that time. Now my network capacity is abundant. I can get into every segment. And the launch of 1+1 basically completes my portfolio,' Mr Ma said. Telecom's modelling of the market suggests this third segment could reach 1.4 million people by 2000. Of that, only 40 per cent have a phone, leaving potentially more than 800,000 new customers to target. However, this is a market where pricing and competition are keenest. Added to this, growth in Hong Kong's total cellular market has slowed. Last year net monthly additions of customers were running about 90,000 to 100,000. In February they tumbled to 28,000, picking up to some degree in March. 'Definitely there was a slowing down in February and there was some impact from the slowing down in the economy. But that month I think there were a few compounding factors like the holiday season over [Lunar] New Year. 'When you look at the March figures they went back up again to 60,000. We accounted for more than half of that. And I hope the launch of a new brand will add some momentum to the market,' he said.