PCCW, Hong Kong’s dominant fixed line operator, has marked its return to the mobile market by launching a trial 3G service via wireless subsidiary Sunday Communications. Sunday, the smallest of Hong Kong’s six cellular providers, this week introduced a six-month free trial of 3G services to test its new W-CDMA network. The company stated that the trial is aimed at gauging the efficiency of the network by generating feedback from customers, rather than triggering any price competition in the market. Entering the 3G business pits PCCW, chaired by Richard Li, against market leader Hutchison (3), part of conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, controlled by Li’s father, Li Ka-shing.
In June 2005 PCCW announced it had agreed to buy a 59.9% stake in Sunday for HKD1.16 billion (USD150 million). The purchase marked PCCW’s re-entry into the wireless arena, having sold its 40% holding in Hong Kong CSL to Australia’s Telstra in 2002 to pay off debts. As it stands PCCW owns 79.35% of Sunday’s shares.