China Mobile could seek to buy US cellco

China Mobile could seek to buy US cellco

Dylan Bushell-Embling

Industry analysts are speculating that China Mobile could seek to partner with or acquire a US mobile operator, as it pursues overseas expansion.

The operator has been open about looking to North America and Europe for expansion opportunities, so a US foray could be imminent, according to Fortune.

IHS analyst Julian Watson told the publication that the barriers for entry into the US are high. In order to succeed, China Mobile would have to either acquire an existing operator, buy spectrum in future auctions or enter the market as an MVNO.

China Mobile could potentially seek to acquire Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA if US regulator FCC stands in the way of Softbank's bid, according to the report.

Another scenario outlined is China Mobile partnering with an incumbent operator to acquire spectrum in an auction.

Verizon could be a possible partner, as its recent $130 billion acquisition of Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless has left the company with a large debt burden. China Mobile's economic heft may make it an attractive potential partner in this context.