According to China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou, the company plans to spend USD400 million this year to expand its network in Pakistan. This was reported by Telegeography. China Mobile entered the Pakistan mobile market earlier this year when it acquired an 89% stake in Paktel for USD284 million, its first acquisition beyond China and Hong Kong. Wang said that the company had invested USD460 million in Paktel to date, and that China Mobile was hoping to gain experience from the venture that it could apply to further overseas expansion in the future.

According to TeleGeography’s database, at the end of 2006 Warid claimed a 15.7% share of the country’s wireless market, while Paktel had 2.7% of users. Orascom Telecom-owned Mobilink was the market leader with 22.5 million customers and 46.5% market share, ahead of Ufone with 20.9%.

As reported by Tee Emm on his blog, some big branding changes are on the way. He writes:

Flair, the showbiz-looking-telecommunication magazine (Issue April 2007, Page 84 – downlad the full issue in pdf) says the brand name change is from Paktel to CM-Pak.  How good or bad is this choice (if the Flair report is correct) is subjective.

The China Mobile has sought the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) consent to swap the Paktel mobile company name as CM-Pak, the name under which the company intends to operate.  The China Mobile that took over Paktel from Millicom International after paying dues has now formally requested the regulator for change of Paktel’s name.  Officials from PTA have confirmed that it was approached by the China Mobile with the application that it wanted to operate under the name of CM-Pak, but added no decision has been taken so far.

China Mobile has pumped in $700 million in the Pakistan telecommunication sector since taking over the management control of Paktel.  The company will invest $2 billion in the next three years (till 2009) to expand its network, an official of the Paktel

In other news, China Mobile is changing its strategy for charging for content in China. It wants to charge for access to all mobile internet portals that offer content downloads as the company tries to boost revenue from the sector from last year’s 1 per cent of turnover, industry sources said. Subscribers at present can access more than 50,000 free wireless application protocol, or WAP, portals, many of which offer content free through the internet and bypass China Mobile’s Monternet value-added service platform. Let’s see what content plans are offered in Pakistan – I’d like to see the flat-rate which China Mobile offers in China.

On a related note China Mobile reported earnings for the first-quarter recently. Its net profit rose 22% as its subscriber base continued to grow rapidly, but the company failed to meet Wall Street expectations (I’m not sure what were these people looking for!). The listed arm of China’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers said net profit rose to 17.56 billion yuan ($2.28 billion) from 14.36 billion yuan a year earlier. Revenue rose 20% to 77.71 billion yuan.

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