Hutchison Adds 690K Users in 2 Months
By Carlo Longino, Thu May 20 18:45:00 GMT 2004

Were reports of 3's demise greatly exaggerated? The carrier has grown 66% since March, adding users mainly in the UK and Italy.

Hutchison now has 1.73 million subscribers worldwide, up from 1.04 million in mid-March, adding an average of 77,000 per week over the last 9 weeks. If the company can sustain the current pace, it would end the year with about 4.1 million users, ahead of many analyst predictions. Hutch no longer makes public its own subscriber goals or predictions. (Wonder why...)

The company released the figures at its annual general meeting, responding to critics who pasted the company just a few weeks back, giving it less than 2 years to live. Some analysts say the new figures don't erase all doubts, as the company is still spending GBP 220 to acquire each new user in the UK and EUR 100 in Italy, and it will soon face 3G competition in those countries, its two top markets.

While ARPU in the UK is GBP 44 and EUR 43 in Italy, it's doubtful much of that is coming from data, a metric that will need to change significantly should 3 hope to succeed -- or even survive.