Sunday Communications is hoping to take advantage of improved investor sentiment in an effort to raise $1 billion to fund its third-generation (3G) mobile service launch next year. Managing director Bruce Hicks said the company had received a number of financing proposals from bankers and vendors, but no deal would be struck until early next year. The financing, which Mr Hicks said would combine loans with vendor credits, could be lower than Sunday's initial three-year 3G capital expenditure budget of $1.2 billion and would replace $547 million of existing vendor finance. 'The more confidence comes back to our industry, the more favourable it is for us because equipment prices continue to come down every month,' Mr Hicks said yesterday. 'There is a strong interest in Sunday, and 3G companies in Hong Kong,' Sunday expressed confidence in securing finance for the project last week, when the company reported a maiden profit of $13 million for the first half. It recorded a $130 million net cash flow and settled $119 million of debt, reducing its net debt to $493 million as of June. The company, which is controlled by chairman Rick Siemens, must pay $547 million to Nortel Networks Corp, its long-time equipment supplier, by next year. Mr Hicks said he had not signed any arrangement with the Canadian network provider to extend the vendor financing. Analysts, including Nomura Securities, said Sunday could face a cash-flow deficit of more than $100 million before spending anything on its network and $211 million for its 3G licence next year. Rejecting analysts' claims that Sunday had too much debt, Mr Hicks said debt could be substantially lowered by adopting the same aggressive repayment schedule the firm had in the first half this year. He said that while Sunday would choose wideband code division multiple access technology in its migration to 3G, it had yet to decide on whether it needed to upgrade to enhanced data rate for global evolution (Edge), or 2.75G. 'It depends on how big the window between 2.75G and 3G is, and our strategy is to watch,' he said. 'Going to 3G is like buying a new laptop, but Edge is like replacing a modem with a higher speed.' Mr Hicks said Sunday planned to launch 3G by the end of next year at the earliest. With a nine-month lead time in launching the network, it hoped to secure the necessary finance in the first or second quarter of next year. Sunday, which has a third of its staff in Shenzhen, is also pinning its hopes on the closer economic partnership agreement. 'What I like to see is that Hong Kong companies could offer data service through buying mainland companies .?.?. and Sunday would be interested to acquire some mainland Internet content providers,' he said. Sunday shares closed unchanged at 33.5 cents yesterday.