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China Telecom Shapes Up As Leading China Mobile Competitor

In an earlier article, I talked about my take on the telecom shakeup in China in May. Three months after, it looks more like China Mobile is being slapped down by the State Council for growing too big too fast and being overly aggressive and dominant in the growing Chinese mobile market, which is now the single largest national mobile market in the world.

For this transgression, China Mobile is:

  • Saddled with China’s own 3G mobile standard, TD-SCDMA, which by China Mobile’s own admission is behind the competing western-developed standards;
  • Facing new marketing rulings which stand to help China Mobile’s competitors, especially the newly resurgent China Telecom;
  • Even considering partnering with Apple to distribute the iPhone in China. The only way this would make sense for both parties is if Apple agrees to build China iPhone3Gs with the TD-SCDMA chipset, since TD-SCDMA is not currently supported by the iPhone3G.

The greatest beneficiary of the great China Mobile slapdown is China Telecom, which has shrewdly positioned itself as an underdog to the China Mobile bully. With its recent rulings, the State Council is cheering on the underdog.

China Telecom, for a long time, was the odd man out, until the May telecom ruling allowed it to introduce 3G mobile services in direct competition with China Mobile and China Unicom.

Obviously, the Chinese government feels that there is a lot of room for pruning back on China Mobile’s dominant position in the mobile market.