HONG KONG — State-owned phone company China Unicom said Thursday its first-half profit jumped on higher mobile data revenue and lower fees to connect to a rival’s network. Unicom posted profit of 6.7 billion yuan (US$843 million) in the January-June period, 26 percent higher than the same period the year before. Revenue from third- and fourth-generation phone services grew 33 percent to 54.4 billion yuan. That helped push overall revenue up 3.6 percent to 149.6 billion yuan.
Three Chinese telecom operators announced they are pooling their resources to organize a joint infrastructure company that will focus on building and running the telecom towers. The new joint venture, China Communications Facilities Services, also intends to rehabilitate state-controlled telecom companies by promoting competition. State-owned China Mobile has the biggest market share, or 40 percent in the newly established company. China Unicom has 30.1 percent and China Telecom 29.9 percent.
China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile telco by user-base with 787 million subscribers and the fifth-biggest company in China. Near the end of last year, it was the first telco in the country to receive a 4G license from China’s Ministry of Internet and Information Technology (MIIT), and the number of LTE subscribers on its network has grown strongly ever since.
China Unicom held a foundation stone laying ceremony for its Hong Kong data center, in which the company will invest CNY3 billion. The company will invest CNY3 billion to build a communications hub building in Hong Kong’s Tseung Kwan O. This new building will be used as data center to enhance China Unicom’s network services and it is expected to be completed in the first half of 2016. Lu Yimin, general manager of China Unicom, said that this new center will have an international network platform, cloud computing service platform, and Internet data center, which will help improve the company’s communications products development abilities outside of mainland China.
“Due to China Unicom’s extensive network resources at home and abroad, strong cross-border network connectivity and IDC support from mainland China, coupled with the robust ICT infrastructure of Hong Kong and a talented team with valuable operational management experience and a global vision, the global centre will boost China Unicom’s competitiveness on the global stage,” said Mr. Lu Yimin, executive director and president of China Unicom.
China Unicom has set aside HK$3 billion (US$387.03 million) to build its first and largest facility overseas, in Hong Kong, as it looks to expand into global markets. The new site will support six key functions, serving as the operator’s global network operations center with sub-cable landing station, global network solutions and support center, cloud computing service platform, internet data center, Hong Kong service platform, and product innovation and development center.
Executives from China Telecom and China Mobile confirmed that the three largest Chinese telecom operators will establish a joint venture without sharing base stations. Rumors previously spread on the Internet that China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom would jointly invest to establish a national base station company. After the founding of the company, it would be responsible for the new construction of base stations, towers, and pipelines of the three telecom operators. In the future, it would include the operators’ existing base stations, towers, and pipelines.
Just a day after China Mobile reported some of its worst results in years, new developments in the telecoms space are showing why the nation’s leading telco will face a rough time for the rest of this year and quite possibly well beyond that. According to the latest media reports, China’s telecoms regulator could issue 4G licenses for the main technology being used by China Mobile’s two rivals as soon as next month, injecting a major shot of competition into the market. The second telecoms news bit comes in broadband, with reports that the nation’s newly formed national cable TV company has formally registered and will start business soon.
China’s shoppers got the newest iPhone and iPad models on their global launch day – for the first time ever – on November 1. But the 3G and 4G iPads were left out of the fun. But today (no, not an April Fool’s) the cellular-enabled versions of the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina display have arrived in mainland China.
China Unicom (NYSE:CHU; HKG:0762) punched above its weight in the 3G era, closely challenging the behemoth China Mobile in terms of 3G subscribers, But China Unicom has had a slower start to its 4G operations. Today Unicom rolled out 4G in 25 Chinese cities, a full three months after its rival. China Unicom unveiled its postpaid and prepaid 4G data plans today. Pay-as-you-go subscribers can get a 4G package for as low as RMB 78 (US$12.70) per month, which allows for 400MB of data. The price and (fairly measly) data allowance are in line with its 3G packages.