The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China has issued the first batch of virtual operator licenses to 11 enterprises.
Virtual operators are qualified enterprises who operate certain basic telecom businesses by leasing the basic networks of telecom operators. The virtual operator business sector opened this time is the mobile reselling business. Only Chinese-owned businesses may apply for these licenses.
Companies gaining the first batch virtual operator licenses included Telling Telecommunication, Zhejiang Lianlian Technology, FunTalk, Huatone, JD.com, Bewinner Communications, Wanwang Zhicheng, D.Phone, Soshare Network Technology, Telephone World Digital Chain Group, and Busap.
On January 8, 2013, MIIT published a mobile communications reselling business pilot program, which means China would open its long-closed virtual operating license. After a year of testing and preparation, the licenses have now been issued. With the issuance of the licenses, private companies will enter the Chinese telecom sector for the first time. For the next step, MIIT will continue to enhance private companies' participation in the basic telecom industry.
China Mobile signed mobile reselling agreements with 17 companies, China Unicom with 14 companies and China Telecom with 16 companies. The total number of participated companies is 22, excluding those duplicated ones.