Hutchison Telecom International Ltd's mobile-telephone operations in Thailand and Vietnam are struggling as they face fierce competition from rivals using a more popular technology. The company, a unit of the Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate, yesterday announced its full-year profit for last year would be dragged down by a non-cash impairment charge of HK$3.85 billion in connection with the company's Thailand business. Hutchison uses the United States-developed code division multiple access (CDMA) technology for its mobile telephones in Thailand. However, its competitors employ the more popular global system for mobile communications (GSM) technology which has emerged as the industry standard and dominates the mobile infrastructure globally. The news came as Hutchison's Vietnam mobile business, which is uses CDMA technology, is reportedly applying to switch to GSM due to tough market competition. Hutchison yesterday said that due to the impairment charge it would record a loss from continuing operations for last year compared with a net profit of HK$341 million for 2006. However, the company stressed it would still record an overall profit due to a one-time gain of HK$75 billion from selling a 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Essar, its Indian mobile business, to British-based Vodafone Group for HK$87 billion. Hutchison Telecom said its Thailand mobile business, which did not have a presence in much of the Southeast Asian country, would face further competition until it reached an agreement with Thai partner CAT Telecom to merge both companies' businesses. Hutchison markets CAT Telecom's mobile services in Bangkok and surrounding provinces and leases to CAT the CDMA network for these services. It had 884,000 users at the end of September and generated HK$495 million in revenue by June last year. 'It will be difficult for Hutchison, as a regional operator, to compete with the other three nationwide players who provide the service in the GSM standard, a more popular mobile technology,' a telecommunications analyst said yesterday. Hutchison and CAT Telecom would restructure their Thailand CDMA units so that Hutchison would have national CDMA operations once the plan was approved by the Thai government, a source said. 'It is appropriate for Hutchison to book this one-time impairment loss in its 2007 results,' the analyst said. Shares in Hutchison Telecom yesterday closed down 2.09 per cent at HK$11.26 against a 5.37 per cent slide in the Hang Seng Index.