During the dotcom boom, Internet businesses talked of their 'first-mover' advantage. Now, more than a year after the crash, telecom group Media Syndication Limited (MSL) is promoting its 'late-comer' advantage. The company has launched a broadband Internet service for hotel guests at a time when many of its competitors, including i-Quest, have been going out of business. MSL, owned by former Star Telecom chief executive Francis Wong Yick-man and his management team, signed a broadband contract with the Excelsior Hotel in Hong Kong last month and plans to expand its services. 'We have a late-comer advantage. The demand is there but there is no one to fill it,' Mr Wong said. 'In the past three years, people rushed into broadband technology, but it was too early. Now this is the right time.' The broadband service for the Excelsior, a member of the Mandarin Oriental group of hotels, will be launched in May. The service, which uses the network of Hutchison Global Crossing, will be able to transmit data at more than 10 megabits per second. Mr Wong said the company was negotiating with the Mandarin group for more local and regional management contracts, and was talking to other local hotel groups whose services had been discontinued because providers were out of business. MSL and Mandarin were co-investing in the service facilities, which were estimated to cost several million dollars. One feature of MSL's service is its introduction of an enhanced integrated messaging system, which enables customers to receive voice e-mail. The service, which converts text to speech, is targeted at travelling business executives who do not have immediate access to computers. Mr Wong said 80 per cent of Internet usage was for e-mail. He admitted there could be some similar applications in the third-generation mobile-phone service, but he claimed his service was more efficient and - in this area - had first-mover advantage. By charging an average of HK$1 per minute or message for internal calls and HK$3 for external, Mr Wong is optimistic the company can achieve break-even with 20,000 customers a month. MSL's sister company Trident Telecom Venture earlier this year began providing mobile services for business travellers in Hong Kong. The mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) licensee, which leases Sunday Communications' network, also has signed up with the Trade Development Council (TDC) as official mobile-phone service provider for events. Trident would invest HK$200 million over three years, of which more than HK$100 million had been committed this year to develop a full MVNO platform, Mr Wong said. The company intended to list on the stock exchange. Infobiz, the holding company of MSL and Trident, is 56 per cent-owned by the management, led by Mr Wong. Direct technology investment firm China Cyber owns 41 per cent, while an independent investor owns 2 per cent.