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Global Telecoms Business
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Cheung: focusing on change and innovation

01 July 1999

As price discounting intensifies for international telephony and mobile in Hong Kong, the former incumbent has been leveraging its advanced broadband network to derive revenues from multi-media services. In a recent rebranding exercise it was renamed Cable & Wireless HKT to reflect the operator's global ambitions. CEO Linus Cheung talks to Global Telecoms Business about this move and other developments.

The incumbent telco in Hong Kong, Hongkong Telecom, reached an agreement with the government in January 1998 to relinquish its monopoly on international direct dial calls on March 31 1998, in return for a cash payment of HK$6.7 billion ($863 million). In addition, competing international simple resale voices have been permitted since January 1 1999. Full facilities-based competition will be allowed as of January 1 2000.
The operator has tried to stay ahead of the competition, building an advanced broadband network and focusing on multi-media. Lloyd Fischer, a telecoms analyst at Salomon, Smith & Barney, comments: "I think that they were one of the first to realize that the markets were going to change and that the emphasis would shift from high, monopoly margin businesses to other areas. I don't think that many operators in the region had thought that far ahead."

According to Fischer, the operator...