China Telecom and MegaFon plan GSM launch

9 Feb 2004

Russian cellco MegaFon is in talks with China’s dominant fixed-line telco China Telecom about setting up a joint-venture GSM mobile operation in China’s coastal provinces, according to local media sources. It is thought that the talks were instigated by a telecoms co-operative agreement secured by Russian president Vladimir Putin on an official visit to China in 2002. China Telecom is expected to receive a GSM or 3G licence when the government issues its next round of concessions before the end of the year; it currently offers limited mobility services to around 25 million users. It is thought that the bulk of the roll-out costs will be covered by MegaFon’s planned stock market floatation later this year.