China Telecom has signed a deal with Everything Everywhere to launch mobile services in the UK, targeted specifically at Chinese residents, businesses and visitors.
Entering the UK mobile market is a strategic move. We are keen to launch the service in the UK as soon as possible.– Yan Ou, China Telecom
"Entering the UK mobile market is a strategic move," Yan Ou, managing director of China Telecom in Europe, said in a statement. "We are keen to launch the service in the UK as soon as possible, as there is a real gap in the market for the provision of tailored mobile services and competitive tariffs aimed at the growing Chinese population."
The service will arrive in the first quarter of 2012, with an initial focus on pre-pay data and international calling plans. China Telecom Europe is considering introducing pay-monthly and bundled services in the future, an Everything Everywhere spokeswoman told ZDNet UK.
China Telecom is the biggest fixed-line provider in its home country, but only third in mobile services there. The Everything Everywhere deal "marks the first time that a Chinese telecom operator has launched MVNO services outside China", according to China Telecom, which has also said it wants to break into the US market via a leased network.
An MVNO is a mobile operator that sells services directly to its customers but does not own any of the infrastructure used to provide the services. Transatel, Everything Everywhere's mobile virtual network aggregator, helped secure the new deal.
The UK carrier already has 23 MVNO agreements in place, with service providers such as Virgin, Ikea, Lycamobile and TalkTalk Business. TalkTalk also has an agreement with Vodafone to provide services to residential customers in the UK.
Everything Everywhere, a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, provides services to its parent companies' Orange and T-Mobile customers via network-sharing agreement announced in September 2010. It has since expanded this sharing to include 3G connectivity.
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