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HongKong Telecommunications Ltd has agreed to buy Hong Kong cellular operator Pacific Link Communications Ltd for 372m pounds – signaling what could be the start of a long overdue consolidation in the Hong Kong wireless services market. It is buying the business from First Pacific Co Ltd, who owns 65% and Vodafone Plc, owner of the remaining 35%. The deal will give Hong Kong Telecom – majority owned by Cable & Wireless – around 45% of the mobile market. Hong Kong has eight cellular operators and 11 networks; GSM operated by Hutchison, Hong Kong Telecom CSL and Smartone, D-AMPS by Pacific Link, CDMA by Hutchison and six PCs operations yet to be launched. The transaction has received approval from Hong Kong’s Office of the Telecommunications Authority. Linus Cheung, chief executive of HongKong Telecom, said: This is an important acquisition which will enable us to strengthen and grow our mobile business and to offer our customers enhanced quality and an increased range of services. Vodafone, which paid 65m pounds for its 35% stake, has doubled its money as a results of the deal.

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CBR Staff Writer

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