Smar Tone: Dial Up, Log On, Cash In

Can the Web lift SmarTone above its cell-phone rivals?

In Hong Kong, it seems, every adult is packing a mobile phone. But for Hubert Ng, there's always room for more. Since Ng took over as chief executive at SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd. three years ago, the cellular operator has introduced all manner of services to make sure people on the go are also on the line. SmarTone provides subscribers with everything from horse-racing results to stock quotations and flight arrivals. Now, the 50-year-old Ng is breaking into E-commerce. He's upgrading SmarTone's technology and forging new alliances so that customers can use mobile phones to pay bills and make purchases on the Web. "Just imagine the benefits of access via wireless," says Ng. "We really see unlimited potential."

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