Electronics manufacturer Foxconn has partnered with CDMA operator China Telecom through its Chinese subsidiary Xunjie to provide mobile services via a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement, WantChinaTimes writes, citing its Chinese-language sister publication Commercial Times. Xunjie’s mobile services will initially target the manufacturer’s more than one million employees and their families on the mainland and Taiwan. Foxconn will become the first Taiwanese company to acquire an MVNO licence in China, and the group plans to develop fixed line and broadband services in the future.
In a related development, C114 reports that China’s 41 MVNOs accounted for 2.1 million subscribers by the end of 2014, with the top four providers representing 1.67 million users. Snail Mobile, the wireless business of video game company Snail Games, is understood to be the largest MVNO in the country with 670,000 customers signed up to its services, whilst electrical appliance manufacturers Suning and Gome had signed up 500,000 and 300,000 subscribers respectively to their Suning Mobile, Gome G++ services, whilst e-commerce firm Alibaba represented around 200,000. Elsewhere, D-phone, Aisidi and Telline had around 100,000 users apiece, and Bus Online and Jindong had fewer than 100,000. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) began issuing MVNO licences in 2013 as part of a two-year trial programme to test the potential effectiveness of virtual operators in increasing competition in the wireless sector. The ministry expects subscribers to virtual providers’ services to reach 50 million by the end of 2015, although given the slow rate of growth so far, and the difficulties faced by MVNOs, the end figure is likely to fall far short of that target.