China’s green light for MVNO’s opens market for OTT giants

Chinese OTT player Tencent—which runs popular messaging services such as QQ and WeChat —has already been strongly tipped as an MVNO

I was in a hotel bar in Hong Kong when I got one of my first major tipoffs as a budding telecoms journalist. It came from a well-lubricated telecoms-industry executive whom I never saw again.

“Look, I shouldn’t really be telling you this, but something big is about to happen in China,” he said. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Yes, sure,” I replied.

“Well, this really is top secret, but the deal is almost done so it can’t do much harm now,” he said. “Virgin Mobile is going to launch as an MVNO in Shanghai. Unbelievable, isn’t it?”

Apple launches instalment scheme in China

Apple has started offering instalment plans for its products in China

In a bid to compete with its smartphone rivals in the largest mobile market in the world, Apple has started offering instalment plans for its products in China, the first OEM in the country to do so when selling its own products directly. According to reports, the company has taken this step because it has been struggling to shift its products, which are typically more expensive than those of its competitors. Regardless of the near-term competitive environment Apple faces in China the instalment plans are a bold and innovative way for Apple to make the iPhone more attractive to consumers who are used to buying smartphones from local rivals such as ZTE for much less.

OPINION: Pulling power

Chinese OTT player Tencent—which runs popular messaging services such as QQ and WeChat —has already been strongly tipped as an MVNO

The biggest external threat to operators today are the OTT players hooking consumers on devices, platforms and non-operator messaging apps. But as China looks to begin a two-year trial of multiple MVNOs, says James Middleton, local OTT players seem the most likely candidates. Could there be a lesson in here for operators elsewhere in the world?

Chinese whispers


China has long been seen as a potential goldmine for foreign investment due to the sheer size of the market, but the trick is always going to be catering to niche audiences within the country’s substantial economic diversity.

China mandates FTTH for newly-built properties


The Chinese government is to make fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity mandatory in the construction of new residences. The country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will introduce the legislation from April 1, 2013 according to local reports.

China’s smart grids a big opportunity for PON tech

Smart grids pose a big opportunity

Smart grids based on passive optical networking (PON) technologies are set to provide a $1.5-2bn opportunity for fibre and FTTx component and infrastructure vendors targeting China, according to statistics released Wednesday.

China crucial to Android

China is by far Google's largest market for Android devices, according to Informa

Almost two-thirds of the handsets sold in China in 2012 run on the Android OS and China is Google’s largest market for Android devices, according to the latest research from Informa Telecoms & Media. A third of Android handsets sold in 2012 were sold in China, figures from the research firm show.

China Mobile brings TD-LTE to high-speed trains

Chinese train users will be able to enjoy LTE on certain routes

China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier, has created the fastest TD-LTE network in the world – by deploying the network along a high-speed train line. According to the China Daily website, China Mobile has connected up a 60-kilometre stretch of the Jiaxing section of the Shanghai to Hangzhou high-speed railway to TD-LTE using 18 base stations, and is capable of delivering 15Mb/s at speeds of 300 kilometres per hour.

Bad reputation


Anyone reading the news will have seen plenty of reputations on the line this week. For one, a US House Intelligence Committee report levelled more allegations at Chinese infrastructure vendors ZTE and Huawei than USADA has at Lance Armstrong.

China to speed up broadband rollouts

China is aiming for 250mn broadband users by 2015

China’s Ministry of Industry and IT (MIIT) plans to accelerate the development of broadband access in the country in order to bolster its economic and social development, according to a statement on the ministry’s website.

VimpelCom transfers 1,300 staff to Huawei

Russian operator group VimpelCom has signed a managed services deal with Huawei

Russian operator VimpelCom will transfer 1,300 staff to Chinese infrastructure vendor Huawei, as part of a five-year managed services deal.

China Mobile under pressure from OTT and increased competition

China now faces challenges familiar to more developed markets

The world’s largest mobile operator, China Mobile, has reported first half net profit of $9.76bn on operating revenues of $41.86bn. But in a statement the firm said that competition in the Chinese market – from peers as well as internet players – is intensifying. The growth potential in “traditional telecoms services” is shrinking in China, it said.

Samsung partner accused of exploiting child labour

Samsung's flagship Android device, the Galaxy SIII

A US-based campaign group, China Labor Watch, has alleged that a key supplier to leading handset vendor Samsung is using child labour in its factory. HEG Electronics is described by CLW as “an important partner” to Samsung, working on the production of a range of consumer electronics products, including monbile phones and DVD players.

Nokia worries deepen ahead of quarterly results


Finnish phone manufacturer Nokia will shut down two of its four regional sales offices in China as part of its restructuring plans. The news comes in the same week that the firm has slashed the price of its flagship Lumia handset, and the news does not bode well for the company’s 2Q12 earnings announcement, due to be held on Thursday.

China Telecom teams with Alcatel-Lucent for broadband expansion

Alcatel-Lucent has been given the nod from China Telecom to provide it with a 100Gbps capable network

Alcatel-Lucent, the France headquartered telecoms vendor, has been chosen by China Telecom to significantly expand the Chinese company’s broadband network in a deal worth US$123.95m.

Russia escapes broadband crunch as others falter

Russia has bucked the trend

While many markets around the world have seen lower than expected growth over the past three years in terms of broadband adoption, Russia has bucked the trend by posting big growth figures, according to UK research firm Point Topic.

Huawei blocked from Australian NBN bid

Huawei's involvement in the NBN project has been blocked

Chinese infrastructure vendor Huawei was told not to bid for any contracts relating to the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) project, it has emerged. Local news agencies have reported that Huawei learned before Christmas last year that any efforts it made to win NBN contracts would be unsuccessful. The reports suggest that government concerns over security lie at the heart of the decision.

US denies Huawei bid due to fears over national security

Huawei was denied an opportunity to bid for a US government contract

Chinese network vendor Huawei has been refused permission by the US government to bid for a contract to work on the nationwide emergency network. A government spokesperson said that permission was refused due to national security concerns. The firm as now asked the government to elaborate on its reasons.

Baidu launches mobile OS

Chinese search engine Baidu to launch mobile OS

China’s largest search engine provider Baidu has announced that it will launch its own mobile operating system. The platform, which will be called Baidu Yi, is based on Google’s Android OS.

Different Strokes

Alan Hadden, chairman of the Global Mobile Suppliers Association

With the LTE Asia conference imminent, speaks to Alan Hadden, president of the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, about the spectrum challenges facing the Asian LTE market. Fragmentation is as much of an issue in Asia Pacific as it is in the rest of the world, with early movers trying to muster support for their competing strategies.