Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka (Hutch) has launched commercial 3G services based on a HSDPA/HSUPA network covering Sri Lanka’s Western province including capital Colombo. Hutch, which offered exclusively pre-paid services until a recent post-paid contract launch, won its 3G licence in August 2006 for around USD5 million, and revealed plans to launch commercial W-CDMA-based services in 2008, but the target date came and went as it struggled against tough competition, making it the last of the island’s five cellcos to deploy a 3G network, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says. Announcing the launch late last week, Hutch, which is backed by Hutchison Whampoa of Hong Kong, declared that its 3.5G network will reach island-wide coverage with a total of 1,000 base stations by July 2012. It offers mobile broadband internet with maximum theoretical download/upload speeds of 7.2Mbps/5.76Mbps for pre- and post-paid modem and handset users. 2GB of additional data usage is offered free with a choice of three monthly data plans, 1GB (costing LKR290 [USD2.23]), 3GB (LKR790) and 9GB (LKR1,690), while other data plans range up to 24GB per month. A Huawei dongle modem costs LKR3,599. ‘With only around 10% of the Sri Lankan population having access to the internet we see great opportunity for the growth of our 3G network,’ Anand Prakash, COO of Hutch Lanka said.