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‘3’ makes an early call

THE Perth launch of Hutchison Telecoms may be a few months away but the company already has put the wheels of growth in motion

The expansion into the Western Australian market follows the recent launch by subsidiary Hutchison 3G Australia of its retail brand ‘3’, which is the conduit for sales of its third generation mobile video phones.

Hutchison Telecoms already operates ‘3’ stores on the eastern seaboard but those numbers will increase from the 19 (opened on April 15) to 78 by the end of the year.

The company is currently recruiting WA staff to head up its Perth operations.

According to Hutchison Telecoms director stakeholder relations Steve Wright, WA will account for a significant number of retail stores, but he stopped short of giving specific details.

“They are purpose-built stores and they will be located in major shopping centres and in the CBD,” Mr Wright said.

“The stores will have video-phones plus our Orange mobile phones, but those will take a small part of the store.”

He said the current recruitment drive was aimed at finding people to fill senior management and business development roles as well as recruiting in-store sales and customer service roles.

“It is just retail [the WA launch] and there are positions for sales people and sales managers, casual sales people as well as higher managerial roles,” Mr Wright said.

The new technology is the first of its kind in Australia and Mr Wright said the total 3G infrastructure costs would be $3 billion by the project’s completion date in 2006.

He said its recent videophone launch was the first step towards the new mode of communication.

“These ads [recruitment ads] are the unheralded heralding of the arrival of the most exciting thing to happen in communications in a long time,” Mr Wright said.

“It’s the first time that you can video call someone in the UK and see them while you talk to them.”

Mr Wright said the company was adopting an aggressive pricing strategy to compete with current 2G and 2.5G mobile networks to encourage usage and anticipated good consumer adoption.

As well as the video conversation element, Mr Wright said features such as video news, mobile video messages, emails that can be read to outloud, plus standard features such as SMS, picture messages and games would make the ‘3’ product compelling for both consumer and business customers.

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