China’s big three mobile carriers have agreed to form a joint venture to build and operate telecommunication towers, and contrary to earlier media speculation, they are not inviting private investors to participate, National Business Daily reported on Monday.
The joint venture, called China Communications Facilities Services, will have a registered capital of 10 billion yuan (US$1.61 billion). China Mobile Ltd. will invest 4 billion yuan for a 40 percent stake, China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd. (China Unicom) will put in 3.01 billion yuan for 30.1 percent, while China Telecom Corp. Ltd. will contribute 2.99 billion yuan for the remainder.
According to a joint statement, the venture will mainly engage in the construction, operation and maintenance of telecom towers and base stations. The three telcos are also considering injecting some of their assets into the venture.
In its plenary session last year, the 18th Communist Party Central Committee said the telecom industry will be opened further to private investors.
China Mobile president Xi Guohua said in a shareholders meeting held in Hong Kong last month, the three telcos will form a joint venture as early as the third quarter and will allow private funds to join.
However, it now looks like no private funds will be invited to join the venture, the report said.
The structure of the joint venture has to be clearly defined first, including the roles private investors will play in it and the extent of their power, Fu Liang, an independent telecom analyst, was quoted as saying.
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