20060108

At the count of 3, Hutch disappears and FOMA turns 20

3 added one million subs between Oct. 7 and Jan. 7, reaching a grand total of 11M : +10% over last quarter, the sales department can be proud... but how about the CFO ?
Hutchison Whampoa Limited are giving up the lead in Hutchison Telecom International Limited : Orascom Telecom* took 19.3% of it, leaving HWL right under 50% (49.8%). They may want to strenghten their wireless activity, they obviously don't want to consolidate it anymore.
Especially after HWL and HTIL secured (two weeks ago) a 5.1 bn rupee loan supposed to "enable the companies' two indirect non-wholly owned units, JayKay Finholding (India) Pvt Ltd and Usha Martin Telematics Ltd, to acquire shares to be issued by Hutchison Essar Ltd (HEL) pursuant to a rights issue"...
Now liberated from the Orange brand, Hutch Essar (formerly known as Hutchison Max) claim 10M subs and push their own new brand : "Hutch", symbolized by an ugly drooling dog. The name definitely has something to do with HWL, but the logo doesn't look 3ish at all. Furthermore, the color switched from orange to pink. Now whenever T-Mobile wants to make it into India, they'll have to tame this pet from HEL.
Vodafone badly wanted to make it into India and that made sense : Arun Sarin wasn't born in Helsinki, India is all the rage for investors worrying about a reverse Chinese syndrom, and Master Voda just loves winners (see how they dumped ManU for McLaren ?). So after wolfing Telsim down, Vodafone take another small slice of another big cake (after China Mobile, 10% of Bharti Tele-Ventures).

NTT DoCoMo with they could rule over China and India as well as they rule over Japan : they reached the 20M FOMA users mark right after reaching the 50M subscribers plateau. As expected, they will soon take over KDDI as the 3G leader at home : their 40% migration rate** should be compared to KDDI's 95%+ (nevermind Vodafone KK's 15%).
What wasn't expected from the beginning was the time it took them to catch up : they lost about 6 months to glitches that could have been avoided. And there, I'm not talking about the baby steps. Oh, by the way... did you notice how DoCoMo now claim they launched FOMA in October 2001 instead of May 2001 ? Another example of revisionism this side of the "Sea of Korea"...



* The Egyptian operator is growing ambitions : 14.5M subs 12/2004 end of 2004, 17,5M on March the 31st, 30M end of 2005. They keep advertising on CNN International, target 50M subs end of 2006 and should open new joints after Egypt (MobiNil), Algeria (Djezzy), Pakistan (Mobilink), Iraq (IraQna), Bangladesh (Banglalink), Tunisia (Tunisiana) and Zimbabwe (Telecel Zimbabwe).
** Also : 45.4M i-mode subs (90% of all customers) of which 32.5M have i-appli enabled kentais (70% of i-mode customers).



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