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China is set to hand out the first batch of virtual telecom operator licenses before the end of this year, the director of the industry watchdog said on Monday. The licenses will permit companies to provide services based on infrastructure they hire from China's big three telecom operators.
"Ten private enterprises have applied to provide telecom resale services as of today," said Miao Wei, head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
"We are also working on policies that allow private companies to tap into the nation's basic telecommunications sector," he added.
The nation's "big three" telecom carriers, China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd, have signed 47 contracts in total with privately owned companies in developing the value-added services to mobile subscribers, according to MIIT.
In May, the ministry announced a trial program allowing private enterprises to engage in various mobile communications businesses, such as mobile voice calls, texts and data, by leasing the facilities of the "big three" State-owned carriers.