China Tower plans to go public in Hong Kong this year or in the first half of 2018, but the company’s GM and chairman Liu Aili said it has no timetable for a listing on China’s Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchange.
The company invested nearly CNY95 billion ($13.8 billion) to roll out 1.142 million towers since it was established. However, its debt soared to CNY150 billion, C114.net reported. China Tower in 2016 set itself the target of being profitable by the end of the year or early 2017.
China’s tower-sharing rates jumped from 20 per cent before China Tower’s entry to 40 per cent at end-2016. Liu said the co-use rate for new towers hit 70 per cent and in some regions the rate is as high as 90 per cent. This has significantly lowered tower-leasing costs for operators.
China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom each agreed in July 2016 to five-year lease agreements with China Tower, which are expected to lead to long-term cost savings.
The state-run tower company was formed to reduce redundant construction of telecoms infrastructure, and China’s three mobile operators transferred tower assets worth an estimated $36 billion to China Tower in 2015.