The start of third-generation (3G) services this year could lead to a re-ordering of the Hong Kong mobile-phone market. All eyes will be on Hutchison Telecom, which plans to launch its 3 services in Hong Kong later this month. The new services will allow customers to place video calls using their handsets and access video clips among other content offerings such as music, games, gambling and adult fare. This could lead to data downloads accounting for a greater portion of industry income. At present, about 95 per cent of revenue for the six mobile carriers in Hong Kong comes from voice traffic. As data accounts for a greater portion of sales, those which offer 3G services may see their market position strengthen. 'If 3G services prove to be a differentiated product, it could make a difference. It may trigger industry consolidation, although I don't think 3G would change the world that soon,' JP Morgan analyst Edison Lee said. The bets are huge. The four 3G licence holders in Hong Kong are committed to paying $50 million annually to the government and must devote billions more to network investments. Only Hutchison has offered any clear signs it plans to launch 3G services soon. Rival SmarTone Telecommunications has committed to a launch this year, while the other two 3G licence holders - CSL and Sunday - are likely to launch next year. Hutchison's 3G strategy is to grab customers in the high end of the market, now served by CSL and to a lesser extent SmarTone. To do this, it is selling premium 3G services at 2.5G prices. Its minimum entrance fee is $263 per month, a rate which closely matches a similar voice and data plan from CSL. The rate is also far cheaper than original expectations that Hutchison would have to price its 3G tariffs at $500 per month at least. The company is taking the same low-priced strategy with handsets. Its initial batch of phones for the Hong Kong market cost $4,380 each or $3,980 each when customers bought more than one - lower than some colour-screen handsets and camera phones. Analysts said the modest pricing for more advanced 3G services could drive uptake and disrupt existing tariffs in the market. International Data Corp analyst Davina Yeo said: 'I wouldn't be surprised if operators go into yet another round of intense price cutting. 'Although, I would like to see local service providers concentrating more on adding value and keeping their subscribers through strong premium branding or services, rather than just relying on cutting tariffs.' The six mobile operators - including New World Mobility and Peoples Phone - cut tariff prices by an average of more than 40 per cent last year. Hong Kong, however, remains a voice market and the main challenge for Hutchison and other 3G entrants in the year ahead is to grow nascent data usage. As of October, just 14 per cent of contract mobile-phone customers used data download services. But there is hope this will change, especially as mobile players offer thriller applications such as adult content. CSL chief executive Hubert Ng Ching-wah said: 'I am optimistic about [this] year. It is a year data services will pick up, and we will see demand for 3G start to build up in the next two years.' Others said voice services would continue to be the mainstay. Norman Wai Fung-man, chief executive of New World Mobility, which does not own a 3G licence, said: 'Data traffic growth has been stagnant in recent years, and I think it will take much effort to drive data revenue to more than 10 per cent of total revenue this year.' Despite the promises of 3G, there are technical limitations which may stall its growth, such as unstable reception.