China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has issued mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences to eleven privately-owned companies, Bloomberg reports. The new concession holders include HiChina, a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Telling Telecommunication Holding, Beijing Bewinner Communications, JD.com and Lianlian.com. The news agency notes that the licence process automatically excluded any companies with a greater-than 10% foreign ownership stake.
Under the MVNO programme, the new operators will resell services from China’s three state-owned operators, namely China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, although China Mobile has yet to formalise its own application process, technically precluding it from signing an MVNO agreement with one of the newcomers. The new MVNO licences have been granted as part of a two-year trial to increase competition in the Chinese wireless market.