China Telecom is today opening its first European MVNO business, some nine months after first revealing the move to TelecomAsia.net
The telco’s European division is opening CTExcelbiz, a pay-as-you-go service targeting Chinese living and visiting the UK, utilizing capacity on EverythingEverywhere’s network. The firm claims the service is the first of its kind tailored specifically to Chinese nationals living abroad, and will pave the way for similar operations elsewhere in Europe.
Ou Yan, managing director of China Telecom Europe, says the firm has been able to get the service up and running quickly due to the involvement of virtual network enabler Transatel, and will seek to leverage its partnership with EverythingEverywhere to drive the European expansion.
“We are very excited to launch the CTExcelbiz brand into the UK, and offer the Chinese population here services that have not been available to them before,” Yan says, adding that the launch coincides with growth in the number of Chinese visitors to the UK.
Services on offer include Chinese language voicemail, bi-lingual customer care, and free calls to other subscribers. Yan says other services include “provision of a local Chinese number for friends and family to call; [and] a chat application.”
Yan first detailed plans to launch the MVNO service in August, telling TelecomAsia.net it has a potential market of half a million subscribers in the UK. He also noted the firm would look to launch similar services in Germany and France. However, he also said the firm was targeting a 1Q launch, hinting the service has proven more difficult to set up than first anticipated.
Research firm Analysis Mason in January applauded China Telecom’s plan, noting the telco actually has a potential market of up to a million subscribers, and that MVNO customers in the UK rose steadily in the five years to end-September.