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China cellcos complete asset transfer to China Tower
China's three main mobile operators have completed transferring their tower assets to the new joint venture China Tower, which now plans to go public next year.
China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom have injected 203.5 billion yuan ($30.9 billion) woth of tower and related infrastructure assets into the venture, China Daily reported.
Preparations are already underway so that the company can be listed by 2017, a spokesperson for the infrastructure company told the paper.
A listing would allow China Tower to explore potentially diversifying beyond the telecom sector into areas such as building electric charging stations for electric cars, the report states.
China Tower was established by the government in late 2014 to help the three state-owned operators better manage their network rollouts by reducing duplicate construction costs. The operators signed an agreement in October to transfer their assets over to the JV, and have now completed this process.
The JV is 38% owned by China Mobile, 28.1% owned by China Unicom and 27.9% owned by China Telecom. State-backed investment form China Reform Holdings owns the remaining 6%.
According to China Tower, the company completed 485,000 telecom tower projects last year, allowing the operators to save a combined 50 billion yuan and avoid the construction of around 265,000 towers that would have been needed under separate rollouts.