In a regular series, Mobile World Live‘s Asia Editor Joseph Waring provides a regional roundup of news snippets:
China Telecom plans MVNO in Australia
China Telecom has announced plans to launch MVNO services targeting Australia’s Chinese population. 4G service will be offered under the CTExcelbiz brand, which the operator has offered in France and the UK since 2012.
China Telecom said it is considering expanding the CTExcelbiz service into other European markets as well as the Middle East and Africa.
India’s Lava eyes Nokia’s Chennai factory
India smartphone maker Lava is in advanced talks to acquire Nokia’s handset factory in Chennai. The two companies recently signed a nondisclosure agreement, the Economic Times said.
Before any deal is finalised, Nokia needs to resolve its tax dispute with the government, which kept it from transferring the facility to Microsoft after the US giant took over Nokia’s device business. The factory, which employed 8,000 at its peak, is now idle.
Lava was the number 3 smartphone maker in India in Q3, according to IDC.
InMobi looks to attract new investors
Japan’s SoftBank said it is considering increasing its investment in mobile ad network firm InMobi by as much as $25 million if the Bangalore-based firm can attract new investors.
SoftBank owns one-third of InMobi and would invest at the level necessary to maintain that stake if new investment is found.
An InMobi representative told the Economic Times that it is very close to breaking even and is planning an IPO within the next two years.
SoftBank has been active recently in India. In November it invested $627 million in Snapdeal, and its venture in India with Bharti Airtel acquired a 36.5 per cent interest in ScoopWhoop, an Indian-based startup that collects entertainment content shared over social media networks.
DoCoMo expands LTE roaming
NTT DoCoMo has expanded its inbound LTE roaming service, which now gives visitors to Japan from 37 countries and regions access to its 150Mb/s Xi network. Australia and New Zealand are the most recent additions.
The operator has also added Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to its outbound LTE roaming service, which now allows DoCoMo subscribers to roam on LTE networks in 32 countries.
Thailand to set up national backbone firm
The Thai government has plans to establish a national backbone holding company to own and operate all of the country’s fibre and tower assets. The government said the aim is to reduce redundant investments and possibly reduce broadband fees for consumers.
Thailand has about 200,000km of fibre, most of which is owned by state-owed TOT and CAT. Private operators and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand have about 50,000km.
The holding company, which would have a fibre unit and a tower business, would operate all existing telecoms networks and generate revenue by renting the assets to private operators, the Bangkok Post reported.