CMHK in talks for ten more networks

16 Dec 2003

China’s leading wireless services provider in terms of subscribers, China Mobile (Hong Kong) (CMHK), says it is holding talks to acquire the final ten provincial networks it does not already own from its parent China Mobile Communications Corp (CMCC). If completed the purchase, which could cost upwards of HKD40 billion (USD5.13 billion), will give the carrier control of all 31 of the provincial networks originally constructed by CMCC. The Hong Kong-listed company had 135 million subscribers at the end of September: the additional networks in the poorer regions of Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Guizhou, Yunnan, Tibet, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang will add a further 40.28 million customers, giving the enlarged entity a market share of around 69%. CMHK’s move follows the recent trend of Chinese carriers expanding through buying assets from their parents. Last month its rival in the cellular market China Unicom announced plans to purchase nine GSM networks from China United Telecommunications for USD387 million.