Hutch's FTTB prices raise dumb pipe debate

Tony Brown/Informa Telecoms & Media
08 Aug 2011

Sometimes the good people of Hong Kong must wonder what on earth they have done to deserve such a plethora of high-speed broadband offerings. At times it must almost be too much, as their cup overflows with cut-rate 100Mbps offerings being forced upon them by market-share-hungry operators.

The latest player in the low-price high-speed-broadband stakes is Hutchison Telecom, which has kicked around in the fixed-broadband market for the past decade, albeit principally in the corporate market, controlling only about 11% of the total fixed-broadband market at end-1Q11.

But Hutchison seems intent on making a bigger impression, cutting the price of its 100Mbps FTTB service from HK$109 ($14) to HK$87 a month – cheaper than anything ever offered by perennial price-cutter Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) – though the price cut can be accessed only via newly introduced vouchers available from supermarkets.

The voucher program also lowers the price of Hutch’s 1Gbps broadband service to HK$142 a month (from HK$198 per month) and of its double-play voice/broadband services to HK$112-142 a month, depending on the access speed.

What’s more, in a clear attempt to unsettle market leaders PCCW and HKBN, Hutch has also introduced its new “3Home-Runner Team,” which it says will speed up the installation process for fixed-broadband subscribers, though the fast-hook-up service will initially be available only in selected areas and will be available only until end-September.

The motive behind the move

The move from Hutch is a clear response to HKBN’s decision to cut prices to its own FTTB offerings in early June. HKBN slashed the price of its 1Gbps triple-play offering to HK$158 a month and offered its 200Mbps Wi-Fi service in some housing estates for HK$165 a month.

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