China Business News, 6/03/08
The China Netcom Group (NYSE: CN; 0906.HK) has instructed all employees to use mobile phones that run on China Unicom's (NYSE: CHU; 0762.HK; 600050.SH) GSM network. By May 30 the majority of Netcom employees had received 156-prefix numbers, which are also used by Unicom employees. According to Unicom insiders, the switch to the new numbers has not yet started, but is expected to take place soon. China Netcom's operational targets set at the start of the year will not change.
According to its current plans, by mid-June all China Netcom service outlets will be able to provide China Unicom GSM services. One China Unicom provincial branch has also stated that China Netcom has already sent employees to China Unicom for training. China Netcom will also adopt the 10010 customer service number currently used by China Unicom.
Figures from China Unicom show that 20% of employees in the south of China will move to China Telecom (NYSE: CHA; 0728.HK), with this figure rising to 30% in the north. Joint CDMA / GSM base station locations will be split 50:50 between the two firms.
A local China Unicom employee indicated that the firm is to build a large-scale GSM network - matching or even surpassing China Mobile's coverage.