Hutchison Whampoa is beginning to silence critics of its British third-generation (3G) mobile operation by more than doubling subscriber growth thanks to a string of price-cutting promotions. The Hong Kong conglomerate's British subsidiary 3UK has been signing up 1,000 to 1,500 subscribers a day, equivalent to 30,000 to 45,000 subscribers a month, according to brokerage CLSA. This compares with the disappointing early take-up of just 25,000 users in the first two months after Hutchison launched its 3G services in Britain in mid-March, fuelling doubt among analysts and investors over the success of the company's expensive investment. The boost came from an aggressive pricing strategy launched last month through which 3UK is offering voice calls for half the price its second-generation rivals are charging. It has also slashed its handset prices by up to 80 per cent or is giving them away. 'From our discussions with various distributors it is clear that the initial high return rate of the handsets is now under control,' CLSA analyst Danie Schutte said. 'Since the offer is so attractive from a value-for-money perspective, consumers are willing to look beyond initial shortcomings.' The broker believed the aggressive advertising campaign would help build Hutchison's 3G brand in Britain. Hutchison shares yesterday rose 1.63 per cent to $49.60.