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3G network operator announces jobs boost

After months of job cuts, Britain's IT sector gets some good news as Hutchison 3G ramps up for next-generation mobile phone services
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

Six hundred new jobs are to be created in Scotland by Hutchison 3G, which is planning to base a customer care centre in Glasgow. The news is a boost to the country's IT sector, which has been hit by a series of recent job cuts and factory closures.

Staff at the Glasgow offices will offer support to users who sign up for the company's third-generation mobile service. Last year Hutchison 3G won a licence to operate a high-speed mobile phone network, which is expected to launch towards the end of 2002.

Hutchison was persuaded to locate its customer care centre in Glasgow by the Inward Operations division of Scottish Development International. The decision was hailed by Scottish enterprise minister Wendy Alexander, who said that Hutchison 3G's decision represented "a major investment by a leading international company." "I know that the company's decision to locate in Scotland was based on the availability of skilled labour and first-class communications infrastructure," she added.

It is questionable, though, whether a job in Hutchison 3G's call centre will appeal to many of the thousands of workers who were laid off from mobile phone manufacturing plants earlier this year. Over 3,000 jobs were lost when Motorola closed a factory at Bathgate, while PC maker Compaq also shut a Scottish factory.

Many of the employees affected were employed to construct or fix handsets, rather than offer technical support.

3G phones will offer high-speed, always-on, Web access, which should support applications like video clips and video conferencing. Staff employed at Hutchison 3G's Glasgow centre will have to help customers to use their 3G devices effectively.

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