The Chinese authorities are reportedly licensing three smartphone manufacturers to provide MVNO services in the country.
Hon Hai (Foxconn), Lenovo and Xiaomi are among the six firms expected to be granted mobile reseller licences, with white-goods manufacturer Haier and Hainan Airlines also in the running. The Taiwanese media has noted that Hon Hai has not yet revealed the local company that it will partner with – a requirement since it is a Taiwanese firm.
The Chinese government’s decision to grant licences is part of an effort to open up the largely state-run telecoms sector. Earlier this year, 19 private companies were granted MVNO licences to foster greater competition and drive innovation in the market, following the remit of the MIIT that the telecoms sector be opened up to private capital.
New MVNOs will have their work cut out for them, as the big three Chinese operators have dropped tariffs while wholesale charges have remained largely stable. Retail prices are significantly lower than wholesale prices.