Hutchison's 3G plans for UK on track

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Hutchison's 3G plans for UK on track

Hutchison Whampoa's plans to roll out 3G (third-generation) mobile voice and data services in the UK are on track for a launch in the second quarter of 2002, a company spokesman confirmed today.

The delay of NTT's Japanese launch of what is expected to be the first full commercial 3G service has caused some concern in the industry about whether other launches also will be held up.

Hutchison last year formed Hutchison 3G UK, a joint venture company with Canada-based Telesystems International Wireless, and put in the winning bid for the largest 3G licence in the UK, according to a statement on Hutchison's Web site. Hutchison 3G UK plans to build a dedicated 3G network from the ground up.

The company has lined up financing for its network from equipment vendors Nokia and NEC and a consortium of banks, the Hutchison spokesman confirmed.

In July last year, Hutchison formed a consortium for European 3G services with NTT DoCoMo and Netherlands-based KPN Mobile, which now own 20% and 15% stakes in the UK company respectively.

Bidding for 3G licences in the UK reached a total of £24.97bn. Bids in Germany's auction in August reached a staggering £32.6bn, and Hutchison subsequently pulled out of the three-way German consortium because the company said the price was too high

The company still could become a virtual network operator in Europe by leasing capacity from a network owner.

Visit Hutchison 3G UK http://www.hutchison3g.com .

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