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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 June, 2003, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
UK 3G operator to cut prices
3G phone
Hutchison's 3 UK, the third-generation (3G) mobile phone operator, is to cut its prices in an attempt to widen its appeal and boost sales.

From Monday, 3 UK will launch two pricing packages aimed at attracting users of traditional voice services to its new network.

It says the plans undercut the price of similar packages on other networks by up to 50%.

The two price plans offer a set amount of talk time per month, and for the first three months of the deal users will also be able to make a limited number of free video calls and video messages.

The network launched in March this year after considerable hype about what people would be able to use their phones for, but critics have said sales are running below forecast.

Wider focus

News of the cheaper prices hit shares in rival mobile operators as investors worried about the impact of greater competition.

This is a further indication of the extra competition that has come with the launch of Hutchison
Morten Singleton, Williams de Broe

MMO2's share price slid 3.1% while Vodafone fell 1.7%.

The two new packages being launched by 3 UK are called VideoTalk 500 and VideoTalk 750.

Under the VideoTalk 500 plan the user gets 500 voice minutes to any network at any time for 25 a month.

For the first three months of the deal, the package will also include 10 worth of video calling, video messaging and content.

The VideoTalk 750 package includes 750 minutes of voice calls for 35 a month, and includes 20 worth of 3G facilities for the first three months.


"Since we started offering services three months ago, we've focused on a particular segment of the market and we've been successful in that segment," said 3 UK chief executive Bob Fuller.

"Now with these two price options we're broadening that focus to a wider audience, we want more people to enjoy the benefits of video mobile."

Analysts were impressed by the new offers.

"It's a very attractive pricing plan," said Morten Singleton, an analyst at Williams de Broe.

"This is a further indication of the extra competition that has come with the launch of Hutchison."

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