Xiaolingtong days numbered?

26 Feb 2007

Amid falling mobile tariffs and the availability of more affordable wireless handsets, Xiaolingtong (Little Smart), the limited wireless networks operated by China Telecom and China Netcom, may be switched off in the next two to three years. Also known as the personal handy-phone system (PHS), the technology originated in Japan in 1995 and made its Chinese mainland debut in 1998. Despite proving immensely popular, production of Xiaolingtong handsets fell 25% in the first eleven months of 2006 to 10.3 million, following a 30% reduction the previous year. The number of users is still rising, however, climbing by 582,700 in 2006 to take the total to 91 million thanks to the service’s low tariff structure. Both China Telecom and China Netcom have said they will gradually reduce their investment in Xiaolingtong, with the former having announced recently that it will offer the service as part of a bundle, together with broadband and fixed line services.

China, China Netcom, China Telecom Group