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3 UK Starts Posturing For Investors

Hutchison Whampoa’s UK carrier 3 showed off its new strategy today, saying it will focus on communications, entertainment and information services — which sort of begs the question of just what they were focused on before. There was a lot of talk about mobile TV and video and advertising, which some analysts say was a ploy to try and cast itself as a media company to investors, given its upcoming IPO and the fact that media companies’ shares trade at higher multiples than telecoms. Never a company whose executives shy away from speaking their minds, the company’s CEO says that not only will its UK rivals trip up like it did after its own 3G launch, but that 3G itself ” wouldn’t exist if we weren’t forcing the issue”. That’s pretty big talk from a carrier that remains a distant fifth in terms of customers, and one whose success has wholly been based upon cheap voice plans, not data usage: Hutchison itself says that just a third of its subscribers have used paid data services. And given how badly 3’s launch went, you’d think they wouldn’t want to remind anybody.

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