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Nokia poised for shake-up in Chinese sector

27 февраля 2008

International mobile telecoms producers such as Nokia will be big beneficiaries of an expected overhaul of the Chinese telecoms industry, said Colin Giles, Nokia’s president for Greater China.

A long-awaited restructuring of the state-owned industry and the granting of third generation (3G) mobile technology licences appears likely soon, according to speculation in Chinese media and industry circles.

“It sounds like it’s getting closer but we’re all in the same situation – we’ve been waiting for the last three years for the licences to be given,” Mr Giles said.

Late last week, a report on China’s official state radio said a comprehensive restructuring of the country’s largest telecom companies “might” be announced in the coming weeks.

The report said China Mobile, the biggest mobile telecom provider in the world in terms of subscriber numbers, would merge with China Tietong Telecommunications, a small fixed-line operator.

Mobile operator China Unicom would be split up and its wireless CDMA network given to fixed-line player China Telecom and its GSM network merged with the state-owned parent of mobile operator China Netcom.
China National Radio later told the Financial Times the report was not an official government announcement but a “guess” based on media reports and discussions with telecom providers.

However, the report matches what many analysts believe the government has planned.

Mr Giles said his company expected to be a big beneficiary if and when the restructuring came because it would increase the number of mobile operators in the country, all of whom would need to purchase and upgrade equipment from suppliers such as Nokia.

Analysts also believe it would pave the way for authorities to grant the 3G licences more than three years after they were first expected to do so.

The introduction of those licences would benefit Nokia, which controls about 40 per cent of the Chinese mobile phone market, as consumers upgraded to new 3G-capable devices.

The government has delayed the licences for so long in part because it has been trying to develop an alternative home-grown technology, known as TD-SCDMA, which can compete with those on offer from more developed economies.

Mr Giles said that Nokia was preparing to release later this year a mobile phone compatible with the TD-SCDMA standard.

Источник: Financial Times

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