Hutchison Whampoa has unveiled plans on Thursday to offer fixed-line broadband services such as Web calling and home TV on cell phones, as it looks to attract users to its third-generation (3G) businesses.
The Hong Kong-based ports-to-telecoms conglomerate said its 3 UK mobile operation in Britain would offer services next month such as unlimited Web calling, instant messaging, search and other applications on mobile handsets for a flat monthly fee.
“This is about enabling people to do with a mobile handset what they would generally expect to do at home sitting in front of their PC at home or their TV,” Hutchison’s Group Finance Director Frank Sixt told Reuters.
Called X-Series, the service will be priced like fixed-line broadband and will be rolled out in the group’s eight other 3G markets early next year. It will initially be available on two handsets — the Nokia N93 and the Sony Ericsson W950.
Customers will be able to make unlimited calls over the web from their mobiles using Skype software, watch their home TV on mobiles, access their home computer remotely and have access to messaging services from Yahoo, Microsoft and Google.
The group, which has spent billions on 3G licenses and on building networks, said it had struck partnerships with firms such as Skype, Sling Media, Yahoo, Nokia, Google, EBay, Microsoft’s MSN, Orb and Sony Ericsson for the service.
Hutchison’s 3G operations are still in the red, and have triggered speculation that the group could look to sell its 3G assets. The group suffered a setback earlier this year after its plans to list its Italian business had to be abandoned following a tepid response from the market.
The group’s 3 businesses had 13.5 million customers on August 20. The 3 group spans operations in Italy, Australia, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Hong Kong, Israel and Ireland besides the UK.
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