China has issued the first batch of virtual carrier licenses to 11 private companies, allowing them to run mobile telecom businesses based on services leased from state-run carriers, according to a statement from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Thursday.
The 11 companies granted licenses include Jingdong Century Trading Co., which operates one of China’s largest online shopping sites, and Alibaba Group subsidiary Net.cn. The list also includes DiXin Tong Inc., Bashi Zaixian Ltd., Zhejiang Lianlian Technology Co. Ltd., Telling Telecommunication Holding Co. (000829.CN), Funtalk China Holdings Ltd., Huatone (Huaxiang Telecom), Beijing Bewinner Communications Co. (002148.CN), Soshare Network Technology Co. and Telephone World Digital Group.
The move is a concrete step to open up the nation’s telecom industry to private companies to help promote competition and accelerate market reform in the sector. The move is expected to erode the dominance of China’s three state-run telecom service providers — China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
With the new licenses, these 11 companies will be able to lease mobile services from their state-run rivals and then package the services as their own, including offerings such as discounts.
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