Business / Companies

Suning to apply for virtual network operator license

By HE WEI in Shanghai ( Updated: 2013-01-15 15:39

Suning Appliance Co, China's largest electronics retailer, plans to apply for a virtual network operator license to offer value-added telecom services, the company said on Tuesday.

The company plans to offer value-added services attached to the cell phones it sells in its brick-and-mortar stores as well as on its online channels, said Yao Zhengyuan, marketing manager of Suning's Shanghai operations.

The decision to enter the telecom market was bolstered by a recent government directive to "open key telecom areas to private entities", according to a notice published on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Jan 8.

A virtual network operator, or VNO, is a provider of services and a reseller of network services from other telecom suppliers that does not own the telecom infrastructure.

A VNO usually leases bandwidth at wholesale rates from various telecom providers in order to provide tailored-made solutions to its customers.

Apart from Suning, small-cap telecom businesses, such as Longmaster Information & Technology Co Ltd, have expressed interest in obtaining a VNO license.

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