Unicom rumours denied

7 Apr 2005

Despite continued speculation that the Chinese government is considering a reshuffle of the country’s telecoms operators, an industry insider has denied the rumours. The official newspaper China Daily reported yesterday that the state was considering splitting up the number two mobile carrier Unicom, merging its GSM operations into the fixed line operator China Netcom and its CDMA operations into rival wireline telco China Telecom. Unicom’s fixed line networks would also be split up. Reports earlier this year suggested a slightly different break-up, with Netcom then cited as the recipient of Unicom’s CDMA systems.

However, speaking to the Financial Times, Zhang Chunjiang, executive chairman of Netcom, said the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), which oversees the state’s holdings and which denied the earlier rumours, “had not changed its mind”. According to Zhang, SASAC has made no decision on any future restructuring of the market. A shake-up within the Chinese telecoms sector is expected prior to the government awarding its next generation mobile licences later this year.

China, China Netcom, China Telecom Corporation, China Unicom