Hutchison to brand mobiles

Telecoms group Hutchison Whampoa is set to appoint a branding consultancy to create the corporate identity for its new third generation UK mobile phone business.

Landor Associates is understood to be the front-running consultancy for the job. The group is understood to be competing against as many as a dozen rivals. Landor executive creative director Peter Knapp was unavailable for comment as Design Week went to press.

The Hong Kong telecoms conglomerate recently acquired the largest of the UK’s 3G mobile phone licences for £4.4bn, bidding with Canadian operator TIW through its European arm Hutchison Europe. Hutchison was the original owner of the Orange network when it floated in 1996.

Hutchison and its partners are in need of a full corporate identity programme for the “Licence A” brand. This will operate alongside the Vodafone, One 2 One, Orange and BT networks awarded the remaining 3G licences, valued at a total of £22.47bn.

“We are a new player which doesn’t have a name,” says Hutchison Europe marketing director Richard van den Bergh, who confirms the move to appoint a branding group. “The name we have been using until now is Hutchison 3G, but it is only a working title for the licence winners,” he adds.

Hutchison currently owns a 93 per cent interest in 3G Licence A, while TIW holds a 7 per cent stake. The company denies reports that it is selling a 35 per cent stake of the licence to Dutch Telecoms group KPN and NTT DoCoMo of Japan.

“It is all due to be settled fairly quickly but so far no contracts have been signed,” says van den Bergh, adding that the new identity will not be launched for several months.

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