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TTI Hopping Mad Over Hutch

OSS vendor TTI Telecom International Ltd. (Nasdaq: TTIL) has spoken out about its short and trying relationship with U.K. greenfield wireless operator Hutchison 3G UK Ltd. (which likes to be known as "3"), saying the operator is overrun with external consultants and obsessed with doing everything in a totally unique way.

"Whenever anything goes wrong, Hutchison [3G UK]'s attitude is that it's always someone else's fault," says TTI's VP of sales Bill Archer.

And something certainly went wrong between TTI and the 3G startup. Hutchison announced back in February 2002 that it was to use the OSS firm's Manager of Managers system, which provides an overall view of network and service performance, but the relationship came to an end last November (see Hutch 3G Dumps Supplier). This left Hutchison with an incomplete set of network support systems, and the software company with a one-time charge that hit its annual figures hard (see TTI Tightens Its Belt).

The initial deal also announced that TTI's system would be used in other Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013) 3G operations around the world. Archer says the relationships with Hutchison 3G HK in Hong Kong and Hutchison 3G Australia Pty Ltd. are progressing very well.

So why did the deal in the U.K. go down the bunny hole? Archer says the problem stemmed from Hutchison's use of an army of external consultants who were obsessed with paperwork and process and didn't know how to run a telecom business or a network. "All they wanted for months was documentation, but not the system. And everything had to be done in a totally unique way, even services that already existed, like multimedia messaging. That was a problem."

After months of getting nowhere, Hutchison, which has ongoing issues and has undergone a recent management shakeout (see Hutch's Nokia Network Woes? and 3G UK Cries for Help), cancelled the contract. "They didn't have too much of a network to manage anyway," says Archer. Sour grapes, anyone?

Hutchison, no doubt, has a different story to tell, though it's not sharing its version of events. The operator failed to respond to TTI's claims of mismanagement. — Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

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