China Telecom To Launch UK Virtual Mobile Network

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China Telecom agrees deal with Everything Everywhere to launch UK services

China’s largest fixed-line telecoms company, China Telecom, is to launch a UK mobile phone business that provides services for Chinese residents, students and tourists in the UK.

China Telecom has agreed a deal with UK network Everything Everywhere and the subsidiary will become the first Chinese mobile virtual network (MVNO) outside of China.

Expansion plans

The company told the Financial Times that it would provide services in Chinese languages such as easy-access international calls to China and services for callers in China to call mobile phones in the UK.

It estimates that there are 600,000 Chinese ex-pats living in the UK, with the same number visiting the country each year – a number which it expects to rise in 2012 as a result of the Olympic Games.

If successful, the venture could act as a springboard for China Telecom to launch services in other European countries and eventually the United States.

“Entering the UK mobile market is a strategic move,” commented Yan Ou, managing director of China Telecom Europe. “We are keen to launch the service in the UK as soon as possible as there is a real gap in the market for the provision of tailored mobile services and competitive tariffs aimed at the growing Chinese population in the UK.”

Virtual Network

China Telecom will pay Everything Everywhere an undisclosed amount and Transatel, Everything Everywhere’s mobile virtual network aggregator, will manage the service for China Telecom, who will market the businesses to customers in the UK.

Everything Everywhere was apparently selected on the strength of its combined Orange and T-Mobile network.  The network was formed in July 2010 following the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, although the two brands continue to operate autonomously.

“Everything Everywhere offers MVNO customers the biggest 3G network and widest 3G coverage in the UK, making us the partner of choice for MVNOs,” said Marc Overton, vice president of Wholesale and M2M at Everything Everywhere. “We look forward to growing our partnership with China Telecom in the future.”

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