THE announcement that three new companies will be permitted to provide telecommunications services to Hong Kong foreshadows the introduction of new competition to a market traditionally dominated by a single monopoly supplier. It should shake HongkongTelecom into doing more for its clients - and increase the choices for the consumer. By international standards, Hongkong Telecom is efficient and helpful. Nonetheless, in some areas (not least in international call pricing) its services leave a lot to be desired. It is therefore a matter of considerable importance to get competing services up and running and so force the giant to be still more responsive to customer needs. For most customers it will be pricing, at least as much as service range, that decides which company they choose to use or subscribe to. The new companies will be trying to carve out niches for themselves in a market dominated by Hongkong Telecom, while the old giant itself is going to have to work hard to retain as its share. It is obvious there will have to be considerable price discounting all round. The chances of a price-fixing cartel emerging are small, while the competitors are battling to gain (orpreserve) market share. All this is good news for the consumer. It will also be good for the industry. For as long as Hong Kong remains a key growth market and China continues to realise its potential for massive expansion, there will be room for all three new entrants in telecommunications business. The whole Hong Kong economy stands to benefit.