In a reorganization of China’s telecom industry, which would be almost unimaginable in the West, the country plans to merge two of its largest mobile companies, China Netcom (CN) and China Unicom (CHU). The new firm will be issued on of the three high-speed wireless licenses which the government plans to grant.
China’s two largest phone companies, China Mobile (CHL) and China Telecom, will receive the other two contracts.
According to Reuters, the 3G development will "unleash billions of dollars in spending for network gearmakers." Those companies would include Nokia (NOK), Nortel (NT), Ericsson (ERIC),and Motorola (MOT).
The news many also be a benefit to handset makers as they rush to offer products for the new 3G networks. Apple (AAPL) has still not found a home for the iPhone in China. More competition among carriers will give it a greater chance to strike a good deal. A new market could also give some aid to Motorola’s flagging handset sales and to rivals Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
Douglas A. McIntyre