China's big 3 operators thinking of base station JV

China's three largest mobile operators are thinking about creating a joint venture to deploy base station network infrastructure, though no deal has been reached. China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom will continue to talk about the JV, according to separate filings the companies made to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

"The planned JV aims to enhance the sharing of resources for the development of telecommunications infrastructure and lower operating costs and the costs for developing telecommunications networks," market leader China Mobile said in its filing, noted Total Telecom.

Such a JV would help the operators cut network deployment costs, especially as China Unicom and China Telecom work to catch up to China Mobile's lead in deploying TD-LTE services. China Mobile has said it wants to deploy 500,000 TD-LTE base stations by the end of 2014. The pressure is on the operators to expand mobile broadband coverage. Under China's Broadband China strategy, the government wants carriers to provide mobile broadband coverage to 32.5 percent of the more than 1.3 billion people in the country by the end of 2015.

The JV seems to have the strong support of the government, Bloomberg noted, as the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on its website that it would promote environmental protection, cut costs and benefit customers.

Such an effort by China's three largest wireless operators could serve to cut into the revenues of network equipment vendors that had hoped to sell to each operator individually. Article

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