3G Day!

03/03/03 is 3G Day! It’s not an official holiday or anything, but the expected launch date for UK 3G carrier 3. After years of waiting and recent months of hype people in the UK will be able to order, but not quite buy, 3G handsets. The handsets are due in a few weeks. We admit it, one of our guilty pleasures is tracking 3 stories. How can we resist a company with the marketing creativity to pick the name 3? Or the audacity to buy a chain of drug stores to sell $600 3G handsets? On a more serious note though, there is the appeal of 3’s parent Hutchison Whampoa’s history of winning while going against conventional wisdom. The company’s billionaire founder Li Ka Shing started his fortune buying up Hong Kong real estate and ports when others were running scared. While the rest of the industry showed subdued 3G enthusiasm, pragmatism even, last month in Cannes, these guys are marching straight ahead. No one knows how this story will end. Will Hutchison repeat the fabulous success and profit of Orange or will this bold gamble be a bigger flop than New Coke? Which ever way its goes, one thing is clear, it continues to be one entertaining show.

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