Exec: HK Telco Reorganized for Agility

An executive of Cable & Wireless HKT today confirmed that the company will be reorganized in order to better respond to rapid changes in the communications industry.

In an interview following an address to the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce on the potential impact of China's admission into the World Trade Organization, HKT deputy chief executive Norman Yuen said the company wants to be able to respond to regional and global opportunities in Internet-based services.

"The overall aim is to give us a sharper focus for all the aspects of our business," said Yuen. "It will empower the business heads (of each division) so we can operate faster in Internet time."

Yuen's comments pointed to possible joint ventures with a service provider in mainland China, in which HKT would build a software platform for Internet services on top of that carrier's network. (See "HK Tech Execs Eye Impact of WTO," January 18.)The reorganization, which will create seven business units with chiefs reporting directly to Chief Executive Linus Cheung, will help HKT create converged services for consumers as well as for businesses, according to Yuen.

The company will combine pay-TV services with broadband Internet access that can come through a set-top box, offering throughput to the home as great as 1.5M bps, Yuen said. A unified messaging system will allow consumers to have messages forwarded from a fixed-line phone to a mobile phone and then to a home Internet connection, he added.

For businesses, HKT intends to create e-commerce solutions, such as business-to-business procurement, Yuen said. Under the reorganization, he will head the Business Aggregate business unit.

HKT, the incumbent carrier and largest telecommunications service provider in Hong Kong, is facing the prospect of a host of broadband competitors, including one that will be poised tomorrow to enter the market. I-Cable, the territory's primary pay-TV provider, announced today it will be awarded a license for broadband services over its network. A number of other providers have applied for licenses to offer broadband over fixed wireless networks.

Cable & Wireless HKT, a unit of U.K-based Cable & Wireless PLC, can be contacted at +852-2888-2888, or at http://www.hkt.com/. Hong Kong-based I-Cable can be contacted at +852-2112-8899, or at http://www.i-cable.com/.

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