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November 7, 1993

LAST UK TELEPOINT SYSTEM DIES AS HUTCHISON CLOSES RABBIT

By CBR Staff Writer

The last surviving Telepoint service in the country that created the concept will die on December 31 when Hutchison Telecommunications (UK) Ltd switches off its Rabbit system. It is also in talks with a potential buyer for its Mobile Data operation, but insists that it is still committed to its Personal Communications Network business. The Hong Kong parent, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, is taking a UKP122m hit on the closure, and the figure includes a provision for any loss on the Mobile Data sale. It says that another UKP350m or so will be needed over the next three to four years to invest in the Microtel business. Rabbit managed to attract only 10,000 subscribers, and these will be offered a transfer to the Personal Communications Net when it opens, with a free phone in exchange for their Rabbit phone, or a cash rebate. In Hong Kong, the betting is that despite the expressed commitment to the Personal Communications Network, that is for sale as well. Ironically, Telepoint is a success in Hong Kong, and has 70,000 subscribers there.

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