Hong Kong-based mobile group Hutchison Telecom International Ltd (HTIL) added 4.2 million new subscribers in the first quarter to end March with 21.1 million customers, led by quick growth and acquisitions in the Indian market. HTIL completed the takeover of Indian cellco BPL in January, helping boost its total subscriber base in the country to 15.36 million from 11.41 million at the end of December. The company also reported solid customer growth in its other major markets including Hong Kong, Thailand and Israel.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, HTIL holds stakes in mobile businesses in India, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Israel, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Indonesia and Vietnam, and fixed line operations in Hong Kong. It offers 3G services in Hong Kong and Israel, the latter launching in December 2004, and holds a 3G licence in Indonesia. In December 2005 HTIL’s parent Hutchison Whampoa and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom announced a strategic alignment of their mobile businesses in emerging markets, with Orascom buying a 19.3% interest in HTIL for HKD10.1 billion (USD1.3 billion). In April 2006 Orascom announced plans to increases its stake by 3.7%, lifting its overall ownership to 23%.The combined footprint of Orascom and HTIL includes strategically important adjoining markets such as Orascom’s operations in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and HTIL’s businesses in India and Sri Lanka, without any overlap.