Hutchison Telecom has slashed tariffs in half for new mobile phone subscribers, sparking fears among competitors of a price war. The offer from Hutchison is designed to attract customers from rival companies. Hutchison said it would give new subscribers who already have their own handset and a phone number half-price on all tariff plans costing more than $138 per month for one year. Customers who need a new phone number would be eligible for the half-price offer for six months. A Hutchison spokesman said it would not try to tie down new customers with a fixed-length contract. Managing director Dennis Lui said he did not feel the new offer was especially low. 'We are just pricing along with the market. Our tariffs are not that different from the other operators,' he said. Since the Government began allowing mobile number portability in March, Hutchison has been aggressively cutting mobile phone tariffs to attract customers from other networks. Its latest offer comes one day after rival cellular operator SmarTone introduced new low-tariff plans. Jim Pratt, chief executive of PCS cellular operator Peoples Phone, said: 'The new offer is a bit of a shock. 'We're in the process of studying what Hutchison's objectives are . . . but on the surface it's crazy and appears to be the start of a price war,' Mr Pratt said.