The European arm of Chinese carrier China Telecom will name the host of its forthcoming UK MVNO play before September, managing director Ou Yan told Telecoms.com. China Telecom Europe, which focuses predominantly on international backbone and enterprise and carrier services, will be launching a UK MVNO before the end of Q112, targeting the half a million Chinese living in Britain with a SIM-only, Chinese content offering, Ou said.
The firm has received bids from host networks in the UK, Ou said, and will be making its selection in less than a fortnight. Key criteria include coverage, 3G network performance and price, Ou said.
“We are the world’s largest Chinese content provider and we know how to deliver this kind of content,” he said. “I have been living in the UK for six years now, and it’s not very easy for the Chinese community here to get Chinese language content, so this could be our entry into the consumer market.”
If successful, Ou plans to replicate the MVNO in other European markets, including France, Germany and Italy, where there are substantial Chinese communities. France has the largest Chinese population in the region, Ou said, with more than 600,000 resident Chinese. The firm also plans to target Chinese tourists visiting the region. But China Telecom Europe is not looking for a single host operator across Europe, Ou said, arguing that this might limit the firm’s expansion.