China moves ahead with telecom industry shake up

The government-led consolidation of China's telecom industry, a precursor to the licensing and implementation of 3G across the country, has been talked about for several months, but many observers did not expect further official details on the plan until after the Beijing Olympics this summer. That changed over the weekend, when the Chinese government outlined the process that will take China's telecom industry from six players--each currently offering primarily wireline or primarily wireless--down to four giant, converged wireline/wireless carriers.

According to the strategy, fixed-line telco China Telecom's parent firm will acquire one of two wireless networks owned by China Unicom's parent company, as well as satellite carrier China Satellite Communications. Landline telco China Netcom's parent firm will get China Unicom's other wireless network. The consolidation already began with the announcement of China Mobile's planned acquisition of landline telco China Tietong.

Well, that is not much more detail than already had been clear about this plan, but in any case, it appears to be moving ahead. China Mobile, which has dominated the country's wireless industry has the most to lose from the industry-level integration.

For more:
- check out this coverage at The Wall Street Journal