MIIT dishes out more MVNO licences

28 Aug 2014

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has handed mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences to six more private companies, Xinhua writes. The concessions form part of a two-year trial of MVNOs to test their capacity to improve competition in the mobile market. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the first 19 companies to receive MVNO licences have launched services, although the reactions have been polarised. Many commentators and MVNO stakeholders have complained that the wholesale rates levied by network operators are too high – in some cases exceeding the prices charged to private customers – reducing or eliminating any potential profit margin for virtual providers. A handful of companies, however, maintain that they have devised strategies that allow them to use their MVNO operations to bolster other areas of their business. For its part, MIIT is optimistic about the MVNO trial and expects virtual providers to represent some 50 million subscribers by the end of 2015, representing around 4% of the current total market.