China Mobile Pakistan has confirmed its interest in bidding for local rival Warid Telecom, which has already attracted interest from heavyweight rivals in the country’s mobile market.

A combination of China Mobile Pakistan’s 19.4 million mobile connections and Warid Telecom’s 12.5 million would create Pakistan’s third-largest player (all figures, Q2 2013 GSMA Intelligence).

Also known locally as Zong, the Chinese operator’s interest was confirmed to local outlet the News. It has hired Dubai-based investment bank MAS ClearSight to evaluate a bid and assist it in the process.

The same report quoted a Warid official saying that a three to four week deadline is in place to file a financial bid.

However, China Mobile could face some heavyweight competition if it chooses to go ahead.  Rival Etisalat said in July that its local affiliate PTCL was interested in Warid Telecom, a combination that would create the country’s second-largest operator.

And banking sources also said in July that Vimpelcom, which is Pakistan’s leading operator (via Orascom’s Mobilink), was assessing a bid for Warid Telecom.