Hutchison Whampoa is stepping up efforts to market its third-generation (3G) mobile phone services in Italy with a plan to give away video-phone handsets, starting next week. Hutchison subsidiary 3 Italia will give the free handsets to new customers who spend at least 30 euros (HK$260) per month and pay a 99 euro sign-up fee before the end of next month. The unit has already signed up 300,000 users to its services. The new offer, which is similar to a promotion offered in Britain in June, comes after 3 Italia said it ran out of handsets this month. Hutchison ordered 700,000 3G handsets earlier this year. Analysts said they were not surprised by the marketing move. 'Ramping up subscribers needs some aggressive incentives, and to this extent it was expected,' Nomura Securities Ng Kong-yang said. Yesterday, the Li Ka-shing-controlled Italian subsidiary said it expected two models each from NEC and Motorola to arrive within the next few weeks to fill orders. Bob Schukai, Motorola's director of 3G products, said the company could deliver a 'large number' of phones for Hutchison in Europe this year. The Italian unit has priced NEC e616 phones at 495 euros and Motorola A835 handsets at 395 euros in a promotional period for customers who choose other pre-paid options. Hutchison aims to achieve one million subscribers in Italy in its first year of operations. It also set the same sales target for Britain, where operations were launched in March. The free-handset campaign in Britain helped Hutchison raise its 3G subscriber numbers to 155,000 in the country last month, up from 25,000 in May. 'This offer knocks down one of the last dogmas of wireless communications in our country - the concept that you have to pay for the phone,' 3 Italia chief executive Vincezo Novari said. Hutchison's 3G unit, which has 520,000 subscribers, lost $3.9 billion in the first half.