Tag Archives: China Unicom

China Unicom : latest financial, market & economic news and analysis from Doug Young

VNO, Number Portability Programs Limp Ahead

China telcos obstruct competition

Two news stories in the telecoms space reflect the obstructionist role that the country’s big 3 telcos often play when it comes to boosting competition in their tightly regulated sector. The first story involves moves by the regulator to revive its sputtering program to juice up the sector with competitive products offered by dozens of recently licensed virtual network operators (VNOs). The second story involves the glacially slow progress in “number portability” — a years-old initiative that would encourage more competition by allowing consumers to keep their old mobile phone numbers when changing carriers. Read Full Post…

iPhone Subsidies Evaporate In Unicom Pre-Orders

Unicom takes iPhone 6 pre-orders

Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) highly anticipated iPhone 6 could face an uphill climb in China when it gets released next week, at least based on the first figures I’ve seen for how much the model will cost. According to the latest reports, China Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU), the nation’s second largest carrier and Apple’s oldest partner in China, will sell the new iPhone 6 for a starting price of 5,288 yuan, or about $860. That would be significantly higher than the price tag of $750 that many believe will be the iPhone 6’s starting price when it goes on sale in the US later this month. Read Full Post…

VNOs Sputter, Squashed By Big 3 Telcos

VNOs hobbled by MIIT rules

People like myself who were holding out big hopes for a new crop of private firms challenging the 3 big state telcos will be disappointed to learn that the group of virtual network operators (VNOs) are off to a glacially slow start, boding poorly for the program. It’s obviously way too early to call the program a failure, since it’s only 3 months since the first private VNOs were launched. To consumers these VNOs look the same and offer similar services to the 3 existing state-run telcos. But the VNOs don’t actually own any telecoms networks, and instead must lease network capacity from the traditional carriers. Read Full Post…

Apple, Samsung Face China Telco Freeze-Out

Telcos to cut spending on Apple, Samsung phones

Cost-cutting pressure is putting a squeeze on China’s 3 big telcos, creating an unusual set of conditions that could claim smartphone giants Samsung (Seoul: 005930) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) as victims. The latest signs of trouble for the world’s 2 largest smartphone makers comes in the form of an article in the English language China Daily newspaper, calling on China’s big 3 mobile carriers to stop offering packages with Samsung and Apple smartphones and instead only offer models from domestic manufacturers like Lenovo (HKEx: 992), ZTE (HKEx: 763; Shenzhen: 000063) and Huawei. Further evidence of the pressure the telcos are feeling comes in an unrelated report, which has the trio denying reports that they’re preparing massive layoffs. Read Full Post…

Xiaomi Shoots For Middle In Late 4G Arrival

Xiaomi hypes style with Mi 4

After an embarrassing recent gaffe that saw him ridiculed by fellow smartphone executives, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun was back in the spotlight this week with the launch of his company’s fourth-generation phone aimed at mid-end users. The company managed to get the usual widespread media coverage for the launch of its Mi 4, which it hopes will give it a sales boost necessary to meet an aggressive growth target for this year. But that said, I do sense that media and consumers are starting to tire of the company’s relentless hype and marketing. That could ultimately hurt its growth prospects, especially as China’s mid-range smartphone market becomes flooded with similar products from other domestic manufacturers. Read Full Post…

China Telcos Lower Costs, Set Stage For Rally?

Telcos formally set up base station JV

A rally for shares of China’s 3 major telcos early this week is raising the interesting question of whether an extended uptick is coming for these 3 companies, which are facing several developments that could help to lower costs and boost revenues, raising their profits. Media are citing the newest of those developments, the formation of an infrastructure joint venture between the trio, as the main driver for the Monday rally in shares of China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL), China Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU) and China Telecom (HKEx: 728; NYSE: CHA). But the bigger story is a number of major factors at play, all of which could help these 3 stodgy state-run firms boost their profits. Read Full Post…

New Licenses, Price Wars Coming For VNOs

Bus-Online chairman sees VNO price wars

Last month’s launch of China’s first new mobile services in a decade is showing early signs of shaking up the market, with competition likely to intensify as more licenses are awarded to a new generation of privately owned virtual network operators (VNOs). According to the latest headlines, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is getting ready to issue its third round of VNO licenses, which allow private companies to sell telecoms services under their own brands by leasing network capacity from the nation’s 3 existing state-run telcos. Read Full Post…

China Mobile 4G Drive: More Profit Erosion

China Mobile in 4G promotional blitz

Just days after Beijing reportedly issued an unusual order for China’s 3 telcos to rein in their promotional spending, leading carrier China Mobile (HKEx: 941: NYSE: CHL) is detailing plans that look like it is preparing to do just the opposite. The company’s top executives were being quite talkative at a major telecoms show happening this week in Shanghai, and their aggressive push into 4G services was clearly at the top of their list of talking points.

The new message sends a signal that China Mobile will aggressively promote 4G for the remainder of the year, meaning we’re unlikely to see any cut in its promotional spending. To the contrary, the spending binge is likely to put further pressure on China Mobile’s fading profits, which have declined in each of the last 3 quarters.

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China Telcos Set To Tamp Down Competition

Telcos told to rein in spending

Anyone who thought that Chinese telcos behaved like commercial companies is getting a lesson in the country’s unique blend of capitalism, with news that all 3 state-run carriers have been ordered to slash their promotional spending. In any other market, such a move would carry huge anti-competitive overtones and the regulator would quickly step in and stop such coordinated action. But this isn’t any other market, and the order to slash spending is coming from the government organization that is effectively the major shareholder of China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL), China Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU) and China Telecom. (HKEx: 728; NYS:E CHA) Read Full Post…

Huawei, ZTE Trounce Competition In New 4G Awards

Huawei, ZTE win big in new 4G awards

I was disappointed but certainly not surprised to read that homegrown telecoms equipment giants Huawei and ZTE (HKEx: 763; Shenzhen: 000063) won the big majority of a major new batch of contracts from dominant wireless carrier China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) to build its 4G network. Regular readers will know that I’m a strong advocate of free trade, and believe that Chinese and western equipment sellers should receive 4G contracts in any country roughly in line with their global market share. But in China such major purchasing often has a political element, especially when the buyer is a state-run company, which is clearly the case here. Read Full Post…

Regulator Vigilance Needed As More VNOs Launch

Suning launches VNO

After more than a year of preparation, China’s newly licensed virtual network operators (VNOs) began launching mobile service last week, as part of Beijing’s drive to invigorate the stodgy telecoms services sector long dominated by 3 state-run carriers. The launch of VNOs by e-commerce giant JD.com and leading electronics chain Suning (Shenzhen: 002024) both look well-conceived by targeting specific groups of consumers who are both relatively affluent and big users of mobile services. Read Full Post…