Hutchison Whampoa managing director Canning Fok has categorically denied that his company is considering abandoning its loss-making UK third-generation (3G) mobile operation. In a statement released yesterday, Mr Fok said his company had successfully overcome the numerous financial and operational hurdles associated with launching 3G services in the UK, Italy, Austria, Australia and Hong Kong, and was now ‘in the growth phase’. Mr Fok’s bullish statement comes a week after Hutchison agreed to buy NTT DoCoMo’s 20% share in 3 UK for approximately USD120 million. In a separate announcement, Hutchison revealed it has dropped the Orange banner for its domestic mobile operations in favour of rebranding them ‘3’. Hutchison had retained the Orange branding in Hong Kong, India and Israel, despite selling the unit in 1999.