IPO planned for Chinese tower JV

The tower company formed by a joint venture between China’s three leading operators will reportedly be listed publicly to raise private capital.

Formed earlier this month following an agreement between China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, China Communications Facilities Services Corporation will build, operate and maintain LTE infrastructure for the three providers as they begin their respective rollouts.

China Mobile holds the majority 40% stake in the new company, while China Unicom and China Telecom each hold a 30% stake. An official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has indicated that the ‘big three’ may not be the exclusive shareholders in the venture on a permanent basis.

This idea is supported by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s claim in March that a push towards privatisation would see state-backed firms targeted for non-state capital. The venture, which was reportedly founded with a share capital of CNY10 billion ($1.6 billion), was first announced in April this year.

By collaborating on the venture, the three major operators aim to avoid building out redundant cellular towers by sharing infrastructure and making full use of existing assets. Exactly which sites will be shared has not yet been established.

 

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