LG to Supply Hutchinson Whampoa
By John Alderman, Wed May 05 20:15:00 GMT 2004

Hutchinson Whampoa, after delaying 3G plans due to slow handset supply, has chosen Korean manufacturer LG to deliver three million 3G handsets this year.

The deal, which had been leaked earlier this week by a Korean government official, was estimated to be worth $1 billion, although a statement by Hutchinson did not mention a figure. The companyís other suppliers are NEC and Motorola.

Complaints about the cost of 3G phones were eased somewhat by the announcement that the first of the LG handsets would begin sale in Italy May 5 for a promotional $241. While thatís still a lot for customers unsure why they should transition to 3G (and at that price the phone includes a U-Sim lock limitation) it continues a push for 3G, like Vodafoneís 3G service launch in Germany and Portugal this week. Competing services are a good thing for all players if rising consumer adaption breeds more of the same.

Hutchinsonís rollout of 3G had been hit by difficulties obtaining suitable handsets.