China Telecom has become the first Chinese mobile operator to launch a network outside of the country after it was announced that it has chosen to partner with the UK’s biggest mobile carrier, Everything Everywhere.
As part of the deal, China Telecom will launch its own MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) on Everything Everywhere’s networks, increasing the UK company’s number of virtual network partnerships to 24. Whilst both companies have not set a definite date for its roll out, the MVNO is set to launch in early 2012 and will target Chinese residents and visitors in the UK.
It is likely that China Telecom has chosen Everything Everywhere based on its large coverage of the UK following the merger between T-Mobile and Orange in July 2010. It now offers the biggest 3G network and widest coverage in the UK, helping to facilitate China Telecom’s new MVNO platform.
The Chinese carrier’s expansion into the UK will likely precede the launch of its first mobile service in the US this year, with it planning to introduce a dual-line service which will give users a working in line in the US and another for China.
Donald Tan, president of China Telecom Americas, claimed the service would be priced competitively in a bid to attract Chinese-Americans and those that travel frequently between the two countries. The operator is said to be in closed trials with a number of US-based wholesalers who would host the service.
The move would see China Telecom become a US MVNO, although Tan refused to rule out the possibility that the Chinese giant might one day build its own network in the US.