Posts filed under ‘China Unicom’
China Unicom and Telefonica have signed a framework cooperation agreement on the development of 3G in the People’s Republic. The agreement aims at enhancing cooperation in the mobile communications, W-CDMA, broadband application, international business, marketing and corporate services arenas.
Telefonica’s interest in Unicom is by virtue of the Chinese company’s recent merger with China Netcom, in which the Spaniards had a 7.22% stake. In September 2008 Telefonica announced that it would boost its stake in China Netcom by 2.7% for EUR368 million, prior to Netcom merging with China Unicom. The Spanish firm subsequently purchased an additional 3.03% stake of the unified company for between EUR392 million and EUR434 million from AllianceBernstein. Telefonica now owns more than 5.5% of the combined China Unicom-China Netcom, and is the company’s single largest private investor.
PCCW’s minority shareholders yesterday approved a proposal to take the Hong Kong-based telco private, but the securities regulator will launch an investigation following allegations of vote-buying, reports Bloomberg. PCCW’s largest shareholder, chairman Richard Li, and major stakeholder China Netcom (part of China Unicom) offered HKD15.9 billion (USD2.05 billion), or HKD4.50 per share, for the remaining 52% of PCCW, and the offer was supported by more than 75% of stockholders. The deal requires High Court approval before the shares are delisted, and a hearing is set for 24 February. The Securities & Futures Commission immediately took possession of the voting records and will start investigating the buyout process, following allegations that insurance agents were offered stock in return for supporting the proposal. PCCW said it has ‘no knowledge of any improper share transfers.’ PCCW’s shares have lost 97% of their value since Li took control of the former Cable & Wireless HKT in 2000. The company has a market capitalisation of USD3.6 billion based on yesterday’s share price. The fixed line, broadband, mobile and TV operator saw its first-half net profits slump by 20% last year.
In other news PCCW yesterday confirmed that it plans to implement measures to cut its costs by up to 30%, including redundancies, but declined to divulge the potential number of jobs that will be lost. Union staff had earlier alleged that the group planned to lay off 600 employees, or around 5% of its workforce. PCCW has increased its staff total by 40% to 17,000 in the last four years.
According to a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China Telecom and China Netcom (now part of China Unicom) have been ordered to close their XiaoLingTong (XLT, or Little Smart) PHS networks so as to clear the spectrum for the use of TD-SCDMA, the Chinese homegrown 3G standard. The low-cost PHS service grew rapidly following its launch in 1998, claiming more than 100 million subscribers at its peak. Its popularity prompted cellular operators China Mobile and China Unicom to slash prices, resulting in a fall in XLT users to 68.9 million at the end of 2008.
China Unicom has launched a mobile phone based payment service in the city of Chongqing which enables users to use their phone to pay for transport tickets and at various retailer for normal purchases. The ‘Cqpass’ is a multi-system mobile payment service first to use the SIMpass enabled custom-made mobile phone that was unveiled in Chongqing last month. SIMpass is a Single Card Near Field Communication (SC-NFC) platform. The custom-made mobile phone for this service is developed under the cooperation between China Unicom, Chongqing Yucheng Transportation Card, Guohong Telecom and Digital Group and Watchdata that provided the SIMpass technology.
The Cqpass mobile payment service has all the functions similar to the regular Yucheng Tong Card and can be used to pay for bus rides, cable car rides, hotels, parks entrance and restaurants. Apart from these functionalities, it also features transaction record query and card number display.In 2009, the project will start the development of its second stage of application that would link the subscriber’s bank account to enable the OTA top-up functionality.
According to The South China Post, five firms have won significant contracts from China Unicom in the tender for the deployment of W-CDMA infrastructure. The winners have been announced as Huawei, Ericsson, ZTE, Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent all winning a share of the spoils. The results were released in the form of percentages awarded to various equipment suppliers: Huawei, which has a partnership with Motorola, was the largest winner with a 30.6% share of the 70,000 base station deployment; Ericsson which partners Fiberhome Telecommunication Technologies and Guangzhou New Postcom Equipment won a 26.5% share; ZTE won 21.5%; Nokia Siemens Networks 11.1%; and Alcatel-Shanghai Bell 10.2%.
China Unicom plans to deploy 3G networks in 55 cities in the first half of this year, spending RMB30 billion (USD4.39 billion), and 280 cities by the end of 2009, at a cost of RMB60 billion. The firm is targeting the completion of the first flagship city networks by 17 April and the first commercial network launches on 17 May 2009, the paper says.
China’s three 3G mobile licensees will invest a total of RMB400 billion (USD58.5 billion) over the next three years in building out their networks, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced today in a statement quoted by Reuters. According to a previous government statement issued in December, the three cellcos – China Mobile (licensed for the homegrown TD-SCDMA technology standard), China Unicom (W-CDMA licence) and China Telecom (CDMA2000-based concession) – are expected to invest USD41 billion in third-generation networks in the next two years, including up to USD29 billion in 2009. China Mobile earlier this month announced a 3G CAPEX of USD8.6 billion in 2009, whilst according to the Ministry’s latest statement, China Unicom and China Telecom will each spend around half the larger cellco’s total, USD4.4 billion, on 3G development this year. This amounts to an annual total CAPEX of USD17.4 billion, significantly less than the previous reported estimate of USD29 billion.
China Unicom will launch its W-CDMA network on 17 May, citing industry insiders. Unicom is expected to complete the bidding process for suppliers of W-CDMA equipment by the end of January, with network construction due to begin the following month. The Chinese telecoms operator has already launched trial 3G services in seven cities, and plans to invest RMB100 billion (USD14.64 billion) in 3G network construction over a two year period.