Hutchison sticks to subscriber target for 3

Hutchison Whampoa promised a pre-Christmas attack on the UK mobile phone market yesterday as it seeks to reach its target of one million users of its third-generation mobile service by the end of the year.

Hutchison said that its 3 service had signed up 155,000 users in the UK since the launch of video-enabled phones in March. It claimed it would reach its million target by offering a pre-pay service before Christmas as well as lower prices and new handsets.

Industry experts were sceptical the Hong Kong-owned company would succeed. Some claim that Hutchison has virtually sold out of the phones in the UK and it will take several weeks for additional stocks to arrive in the shops.

Hutchison has ordered 3 million more phones for autumn and winter in its main markets of the UK, Italy, Australia, Sweden and Austria.

The move is part of the company's $16.7bn (£10.5bn) bet that consumers are willing to pay for new mobile handsets that will enable them to watch video clips of their football team's goals as well as beam pictures of themselves to recipients of their calls

Hutchison has cut prices and introduced new models since March to boost demand. It is also offering two services, VideoTalk500, which costs £25 a month and includes 500 free minutes of calls. VideoTalk750 costs £35 a month and offers 750 free minutes. These tariffs undercut rivals by as much as 50 per cent. "We are happy with the progress so far," a spokesman said.

It said the launch of a pre-pay option was crucial as these services account for 60-70 per cent of the market. A spokesman added that there will be at least three new video mobiles launched before Christmas, including a new version from Motorola that features a wide screen. The phones are now available in 2,500 retail outlets in Britain, including 70 mini shops within branches of Superdrug, the chemists chain, which is now part of the Hong Kong conglomerate.

The plans were revealed as Hutchison Whampoa, run by billionaire entrepreneur Li Ka-shing, reported a total pre-tax loss of $500m on the new 3G services during the six months to June. The 3G services now have 520,000 users worldwide, including 300,000 in Italy.

It also said that it plans to list its fast-growing mobile phone operations in India next year, as well as its Hong Kong fixed-line telecom business.

Vodafone announced yesterday the sale of its Japanese fixed-line telephone business to American investment fund Ripplewood for £1.4bn.Japan's landline market has been hit by a pricing war and an exodus of users to mobile phones. Vodafone wants to focus on its key mobile business, J-Phone.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific