China has announced plans to allow private companies to invest in the country's broadband market, as part of efforts to quicken the liberalization of the sector.
The Ministry of Industry and IT said it would permit private capital in the market with the first pilot program slated to be launched by year-end, reported China Times. The move will end the triopoly currently held by the country's three broadband operators--China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom.
The first launch by private equity is forecast to begin operations in the second quarter of next year.
Cao Shumin, president of the Ministry's China Academy of Telecommunication Research, said in the report that the Chinese government was keen to drive growth in the broadband sector through private funds. Allowing competition from the private sector also was deemed necessary as negotiations to further liberate CHina's telecommunications services market were slated to continue under the World Trade Organization's framework.
China Telecom's general manager, Yang Jie, noted that private funds could help relieve financial pressures on the three local operators.
China's Internet population clocks at more than 618 million users, 80 percent of whom access the Web via their smartphones.