Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) finally announced the first mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) last week, half a year after licenses were open for application. Of the eleven Chinese private companies that now owns licenses, there are four mobile phone distributors, four Internet infrastructure/solution providers, one carrier billing service, one bus/mobile media (BUSAP), and one online retailer (JD.com). Five of them will work with both China Unicom and China Telecom.

JD.com, the leading online retailer in China, is allowed to operate services with China Telecom in 46 Chinese cities and with China Unicom in 35 cities. JD will provide data plans, voice/multi-media messaging, etc. on top of its JDPhone plan that was launched earlier. First services are expected to be available in May or June next year. It’s up to users to decide which carrier they’ll go with, according to JD.

Net.cn is a Chinese domain name and cloud-based solution provider that was acquired by Alibaba in 2009 and now is under Aliyun. So it is expected that the license obtained by Net.cn will be leveraged by other businesses of Alibaba such as Aliyun OS, the custom Android operating system that is used by partner smartphone makers and, more recently, smart TV manufacturers. Alibaba has reached partnership with both China Telecom and China Unicom too.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com