Mobile phone carriers were charging too much to distribute data services, hindering the development of the market in Hong Kong, industry players said. Operators take between 30 and 50 per cent of the fees charged for wireless content and applications. This compares with the 9 per cent cut Japan's NTT DoCoMo takes for data services and the 15 per cent charged by the mainland's China Mobile and China Unicom. Data revenue accounts for just 3 per cent of turnover at Hong Kong operators. Japanese and South Korean operators earn between 15 and 20 per cent of their revenue from wireless data. 'Hong Kong operators often request wireless application developers to sign exclusive contracts and take a big cut on revenue sharing,' said Ming Li, the Hong Kong and Taiwan president of Qualcomm, the US-based supplier of CDMA technology. 'This will not promote wireless data services .?.?. it will not give application developers an incentive to develop applications.' City Telecom chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay said mobile operators also were doing a poor job in promoting data services. The fixed-line carrier hopes to win a second-generation mobile licence and enter the mobile data business. 'We are very interested in mobile data applications because our existing operators have not done a good job, which has left Hong Kong far behind,' he said. Describing carriers as greedy, Mr Li said the market needed 'a serious player' in CDMA technology, which could distribute data to handsets at high speeds. 'Mobile operators should make revenue from traffic airtime, not from usage of data content,' he said. Boosting wireless data services could help shore up falling average revenue per user, he said. Mobile operators said they needed to cover marketing costs. 'We charge more, but we also provide more,' a CSL spokeswoman said. 'In Hong Kong, it is the mobile operators, rather than content providers, that drive mobile applications to consumers.' She said operators such as DoCoMo charged less because they provided only a technology platform to distribute content. In CSL's case, heavy marketing in part explained the success of the 'I date you' mobile messaging service developed by Amoeba, the carrier's spokeswoman said. The service generated one million short messages within three months. Operators said the revenue split for data services depended on whether providers supplied the content exclusively and how innovative the material was. Content from Disney and home-grown cartoon McMug were cited as examples of exclusive fare that could draw a better rate for providers.