Listening in on the telecoms industry In the old days, Hong Kong's brutal mobile wars were fought in the streets, with salespeople buttonholing passers-by and boasting of the huge amount of talk time their plans would give subscribers. Today, the fighting has gone underground: operators are using voice spam to lure customers away from rivals. Earful has learned that customers of Hutchison Telecommunications have been receiving automated sales pitches from China Resources Peoples Telephone, using a technology known in the industry as interactive voice response (IVR). Callers are first asked whether they would like to subscribe to a bargain plan. Those who press the 'confirm' button on their handset are immediately connected to a telesales representative to complete the signing-up process. According to our sources, the voice spam is generated at random, so anyone with a mobile phone could receive such calls. A Peoples Telephone representative would not verify whether the cold calls were a part of its latest sales strategy. The spokeswoman said she had also received voice spam pitching Hutchison services. But a Hutchison Telecom official insisted the operator did not resort to such tactics. Meanwhile, PCCW is working hard to tell everyone it can match the marketing strategies of its rivals. Last week, Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) said it would offer PCCW broadband customers a six-month free trial, with download speeds guaranteed at 80 megabits per second. PCCW's Netvigator delivers just 6Mbps. PCCW countered with a three-month trial for Netvigator, although the offer is limited to just one housing district where HKBN operates. It will also throw in its NOW television service, along with five free channels. Earful likes freebies and more could be on the way, especially as Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting gears up for the launch of services over the network of Hutchison Global Communications in July. We wonder what i-Cable Communications chairman Stephen Ng Tin-hoi has on his mind now.