Last year MIIT, the Chinese ministry responsible for information technology, unveiled the policy for mobile virtual network operators and announced the first batch of qualified applicants which include and a subsidiary of Alibaba Group.

Alibaba Group has established Ali Communications (not official translation) to operate mobile communications services. The company announced today it has built a billing system and services will be released in the coming June.

Alibaba said their focus will be data services that will be available for the company’s existing services, Taobao, Alipay, Aliyun, etc. Mobile number pre-orders will open in May.

Alibaba has been approved to work with all the three Chinese telecom operators. The company claims their offerings will be much better than those by the three telcos. First, it will offer one-stop service, from buying mobile numbers, purchasing data plans to paying bills on Alibaba’s e-commerce marketplaces, Taobao and Tmall, while purchasing services from telecom operators, online or offline, isn’t still not that convenient in China. Second, data plan choices will be more user-friendly. Right now almost all data plans offered by Chinese telcos are bundled with all kinds of services, from voice, SMS, MMS to data, some of which users don’t need.

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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