Hutchison reveals name of 3G service

Has telecoms giant Hutchison Whampoa picked a sensible brand name that makes it clear what 3G will mean to users? Think again

Despite being a newcomer to the UK mobile scene, Hutchison Whampoa has proved that it can compete with the best of them when it comes to labelling itself with a seemingly meaningless title.

The company announced on Wednesday that its 3G mobile services will be branded as "3". Even though there is concern that terms such as 3G mean little to the average mobile user, Hutchison has decided against a brand name that will make it clear what it is offering to customers.

"I can confirm that 3 will be the name for our 3G businesses worldwide, said Canning Fok, managing director of Hutchison Whampoa, in a statement.

Fok added that Hutchison 3G is still on track to launch 3 -- a high-speed always-on mobile Internet service -- before the end of this year. "Our name is just one part of our brand. We will stick to our timetable over the coming months, and tell you much more about our approach to our markets and our services when the time is right," Fok said.

"Now you have heard that our name is 3, we hope you cannot forget it," he added.

As well as the UK, Hutchison owns 3G licences in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, and Sweden.

In calling its mobile service 3, Hutchison is following the example of BT Cellnet -- which renamed itself mmO2, and its mobile services as O2, after it split from BT.

Several tech companies have encountered hitches in their rebranding efforts by failing to register the appropriate URLs. Hutchison, though, has already snapped up and, as well as relevent translations of three in other languages.

Hutchison was forced to reveal the name of its 3G service after press reports accurately predicted what it would be called.

A Hutchison 3G spokesman has acknowleged that the name 3 might not itself mean much to customers, but insisted that the company had plans in place to build up an identity around the brand.

"The name is just one part of the identify, along with the customer service and the pricing. We will make a success of 3 by getting these things right," the Hutchison 3G spokesman told ZDNet UK.

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