AMERICAN Telephone & Telegraph (AT & T), the US telecommunications giant, yesterday launched a service aimed at making life easier for multinational corporations in the territory - then admitted it had not yet reached a deal with Hongkong Telecom that would allow it to start the service. AT & T launched WorldPartners, effectively a club for telecommunications carriers. It plans to offer companies with offices worldwide a unified, high-quality service without the trouble of dealing with many different national telecommunications companies. Mr Jeffrey Weitzen, president of AT & T Communications Pacific, said that if Hongkong Telecom refused to join the new organisation, Hongkong's position as a centre for international business would be damaged. ''There's no question that we think that a lack of being able to provide that [the WorldPartners service] would hurt Hongkong's position.'' HK Telecom's position as a monopoly supplier of some types of service seems to make a link with it the sole way of extending the service to the territory. However, Mr Weitzen said he had other ways of running the service if HK Telecom refused to join, without saying what they were. A Hongkong Telecom representative said the company had not yet been formally approached by AT & T, but would be happy to talk to the US firm. WorldPartners is the latest worldwide alliance that telecommunications companies have formed to try to offer services claiming to match the needs of multinational corporations. But Cable and Wireless, Hongkong Telecom's parent group, is busy forming its own alliances to offer the same type of services in competition with WorldPartners. The WorldPartners group may also compete in some areas with HK Telecom's FMIT service, which offers to run and maintain network equipment. The founding members of WorldPartners are AT & T, Singapore Telecom, KDD of Japan, Telstra of Australia, Korea Telecom and Unitel of Canada. Costs of setting up the venture, mostly software, were put at US$100 million over the first few years. Much of that will be spent creating a system able to produce a single bill for a company's worldwide telecommunications services in a single currency.