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December 1, 1993

THREE COMPANIES AWARDED TELECOM LICIENCES IN HONG KONG

By CBR Staff Writer

Three companies have been awarded licences to compete with Hong Kong Telecommunications Ltd in basic telecommunications, but the Cable & Wireless Plc affiliate is not expected to suffer greatly from the competition for many years: the three companies are units of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, Wharf (Holdings) Ltd and New World Development Co Ltd, and they will be offered licences when Hong Kong Telecom’s exclusive franchise expires in 1995; key details about interconnect arrangements, telephone number portability between systems and access to facilities remain unresolved, keeping the companies’ plans vague and assessment difficult, analysts told Reuter; Wharf said it plans to connect its infant cable television network with phones, facsimile machines and other data terminals; Hutchison said it aims to target business and offer a personal number to reach users anywhere, and New World plans to offer interactive voice, data and video services; Hutchison plans to spend $450m, and New World $265m building their facilities; it is suggested that companies that were not successful in obtaining a licence might end up the winners because they were free to develop value-added services for networks built up by the others, although Wharf is seen as having an edge with its cable television system.

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