A successful bid for a free Swedish third-generation (3G) mobile phone licence failed to brighten Hutchison Whampoa's shares from closing unchanged at HK$98 yesterday. Analysts said this was because it had to commit a high capital outlay for the network. 'The average capex per population in Sweden's [3G] will be 517 euros [about HK$3,618.50],' said ING Barings analyst Cusson Leung Kai-tong - 6.5 times higher than Italy where the capital investment per person is about 79 euros. On Saturday, Hutchison won a national licence to provide 3G mobile services in Sweden through Hi3G, its 60 per cent-owned joint venture with Sweden's Investor. Hutchison was one of the four companies awarded 3G licences under a so-called beauty contest selection process. No price tag was attached to the licences but the winners have to each commit US$3.58 billion to provide blanket coverage for Sweden. Some analysts are concerned that the high capital expense will hinder the return on the investment and it is uncertain whether the development of 3G services in Sweden will generate sufficient revenue to cover costs. Mr Leung said the growth potential of the Swedish operation would be limited, given the low penetration and small population. However, the operation would be relatively small among other Hutchison 3G markets and the cash-rich firm had enough financial muscle to cope. It has 3G licences in Britain, Italy and Austria. The failure of dominant Swedish player Telia to get a licence would benefit Hutchison, Daiwa Institute of Research director Jonas Kan Kwok-yue said.