Hutchison buys One.Tel remains

Hutchison buys One.Tel remains

Lucent Technology has finally offloaded its white elephant to Hutchison 3G Australia (H3GA).

For an undisclosed amount, the Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) subsidiary has bought failed carrier One.Tel's network.

A spokesperson for Hutchison said the transfer of assets was immediate, adding it would remove the GSM components of the network so it can form part of the telco's third generation (3G) UMTS network, which is being rolled out now.

The spokesperson said it was a great deal for Hutchison and that in "just one transaction we have acquired a huge number of sites that we need for our 3G network".

Hutchison CEO Kevin Russell, said: "The network assets we have acquired will assist in the rollout of our network and provide Hutchison with more than 60 per cent of the base stations required for metropolitan coverage in our five licence areas.

"It significantly reduces site acquisition and base station construction costs and substantially decreases the execution risks associated with the deployment of our launch network."

H3GA will assume the lease liabilities associated with the One.Tel network site assets from April 2002, but this will not involve the telco paying cash consideration to Lucent.

Lucent had been building the One.Tel network when the telco was placed into voluntary administration, in late May 2001, with debts of more than $600 million.

The network was to cost more than $1 billion.

Hutchison plans to launch its 3G services in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane by the end of 2002 or early 2003.

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