Hutchison spin-off to apply for licence in Macau and start the service in Vietnam, bringing its coverage to five areas Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL) plans to apply for a third-generation mobile licence in Macau and start a 3G CDMA business in Vietnam this year, according to a source. Of its nine emerging-markets mobile businesses, only its operations in Israel and Hong Kong offer 3G services. The addition of Macau and Vietnam would expand its 3G markets to five, with Indonesia also launching the service by the second half. The company's migration to 3G will expand the Hutchison group's global 3G footprint as HTIL's 49.8 per cent parent, Hutchison Whampoa, already runs the business in eight countries, most of them in developed markets such as Europe and Australia. HTIL was spun off from Hutchison Whampoa in October 2004 as a high-growth, high-risk telecommunications stock targeting emerging markets in Asia where comparatively fewer people own mobile phones. The Macau Special Administration Region has opened tendering for up to three 3G licences in the first phase of the programme. Of the three, one would be based on the WCDMA standard and another on CDMA2000 1X EV-DO. It plans to issue the licences in October. A fourth licence may be issued within two years. 'We will definitely seek to bid for a 3G licence for Macau,' a company source said. 'The company has a long time ago lined up equipment vendors for the market.' An HTIL spokeswoman said the company was reviewing the requirements for the tender, which will be a 'beauty parade' instead of an auction. SmarTone will also submit an application for a Macau licence. The company has conducted on-site trials with mainland equipment vendors such as Huawei and ZTE, according to chief technology officer Stephen Chau. Both SmarTone and Hutchison already operate second-generation GSM services in Macau. With a market of 550,000 mobile subscribers as of March, Macau has more than 100 per cent mobile penetration rate. Of its four operators, Companhia de Telecommunicacoes de Macau leads the market with 400,000 fixed and mobile customers. China Unicom is the only one offering CDMA services there. Meanwhile, the HTIL source said the company would roll out CDMA2000 1X EV-DO in Vietnam by the second half. The company signed recently a new outsourcing contract with its equipment vendor Nortel to manage its mobile network. 'We will mainly offer 2.5G first, based on CDMA2000 1x, but will also give customers a choice to experience 3G data usage,' said the source. HTIL has partnered with Hanoi Telecom to offer a mobile service in the 83.5 million population market where penetration is a low 10.9 per cent.