The long-running topic of China’s potential telecom industry restructuring emerged again yesterday as Credit Suisse, citing a senior industry official and sector experts, wrote on Monday that the State Council, China’s cabinet, was reviewing a restructuring plan submitted jointly by industry and government regulators and would soon unveil a decision. It cited Yang Hua, Secretary General of a TD-SCDMA alliance, as saying Beijing could announce a decision on 3G licensing within days. Yang has since rebutted the report, but Reuters states that other analysts have said the country’s cabinet met behind closed doors last week with the intention of approving an industry overhaul.
Analysts have long speculated that regulators want to hive off parts of China Unicom to its fixed-line peers. China Telecom or smaller rival China Netcom would potentially each get one of China Unicom’s two networks (one based on GSM technology, the other on CDMA), thereby becoming full-service mobile operators. According to Reuters, Credit Suisse expects an announcement by the first half of 2008 on the issue, saying a March meeting of the National People’s Congress, or parliament, will prove pivotal.