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China Mobile Limited (simplified Chinese: 中国移动通信; traditional Chinese: 中國移動通信; pinyin: Zhōngguó Yídòng Tōngxìn) (SEHK: 0941, NYSE: CHL) provides mobile voice and multimedia services through its nationwide mobile telecommunications network, the largest of its kind in the world. While a state-owned enterprise, it is listed on both the NYSE and the Hong Kong stock exchange. In addition to the world’s largest mobile network, China Mobile has also the greatest number of mobile subscribers. As of 2009, it is the world's largest mobile phone operator, with over 508 million customers, the largest Chinese company listed overseas and the largest telecom in Asia.
A state-owned enterprise directly controlled by the government of the People's Republic of China but also a public company that is listed on the NYSE and the Hong Kong stock exchange, China Mobile has dominated Chinese mobile services since its inception.
China Mobile was created from the mobile-phone division of China Telecom after its 1999 break-up, and incorporated in 2000. It enjoys substantial protectionist benefits from China's government but also experiences frequent government intervention in its business affairs. As late as 2003, and as a result of governmental protectionism, China Mobile was one part of a duopoly that saw China Unicom and China Mobile control China's mobile services market. Listed in 1997, government control is maintained through China Mobile Communications Corporation, a presumably government-owned holding company, which owns 100 percent equity interest in China Mobile (HK) Group Limited that in turn holds over seventy percent of China Mobile's equity interest, the remainder being controlled by public investors.
Rural subscriber base
China Mobile has historically held a greater share of the rural market than competitors. By 2006 it had expanded its network so that 97% of the Chinese population lived in an area that received reception and has since seen a sustained stream of new, rural mobile customers. China Mobile also offers information services targeted at the rural market, chief among these being the Agricultural Information Service, which allows a variety of activities to take place through the use of mobile phones and the internet. These include the sale and purchase of agricultural products, access to market prices for agricultural products, connecting potential employees with employers looking to hire, dissemination of information by local government, wire transfers, bank withdrawals and payments, etc.
China Mobile expanded overseas in 2007, with the purchase of Paktel in Pakistan, and launched the ZoNG brand there a year later.
In May 2008 the company took over China Tietong, a fixed-line telecom and the third largest broadband ISP in China, thus adding internet services to its core business of mobile services.
As a mainland China-based company listed and incorporated in Hong Kong, China Mobile is a red chip.
China Mobile's has the world's largest GSM network, which encompasses all 31 provinces, autonomous regions and directly-administered municipalities in Mainland China and includes Hong Kong. GPRS is utilized for data transmission.
Its 3G network, still under construction as of 2009, utilizes the TD-SCDMA standard, which China Mobile helped develop. In 2009 it obtained the requisite licenses needed to pursue full deployment of this new network, and the prior year it had field-tested TD-SCDMA networks in eight cities.
China Mobile offers mobile services in Mainland China under several brands.
- Easyown (Chinese: 神州行, Hanyu Pinyin: Shénzhōuxíng) is a basic prepaid service and is more heavily marketed in rural areas. Low-cost monthly plans are also available and these may provide only a specific add-on such as free incoming calls. Some of China Mobile's value-added services are not available with Easyown, however. Use requires purchase of a SIM card and to recharge minutes, an airtime card, both available at local newsstands and variety stores. To access discounted international long-distance when calling with an Easyown phone, simply put the numeric prefix 12593 before the number you are calling.
- GoTone (Chinese: 全球通, Hanyu Pinyin: Quánqiútōng) is the flagship brand. Its traditional, monthly plans allow international roaming and start at 100 RMB per month.
- M-zone (Chinese: 动感地带, Hanyu Pinyin: Dònggǎndìdài) is the premium prepaid service, targeting the youth demographic and offering many value-added services including mobile internet and voice mail. M-zone is popular among students. Use requires purchase of a SIM card and to recharge minutes, an airtime card, both available at local newsstands and variety stores. Low-cost monthly plans are also available and these may provide only a specific add-on such as lower-cost SMS or free incoming calls.
China Mobile customers may choose between caller-pays and recipient-pays tariff plans. A monthly fee is usually levied for caller-pays tariffs (in which incoming calls are free), e.g. 16 yuan for Easyown prepaid customers in Shanghai.
- Peoples: China Mobile Peoples Telephone Company Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of China Mobile (Hong Kong) Limited. It offers GSM, GPRS and EDGE technologies to customers in Hong Kong.
- ZoNG is China Mobile's brand in Pakistan. China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak) is a 100% subsidiary of China Mobile. China Mobile's first overseas operation came about when it acquired a licence from Millicom to operate a GSM network in Pakistan. CMPak markets its products under the brand name "ZoNG". CMPak has invested more than US$ 700 million in the telecom sector in Pakistan and an additional US$ 800 million will be invested till the end of year 2008. PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) has announced that it may resolve the frequency issue with China Mobile, as it was one of the main reasons for pullout by Millicom International Cellular S.A.
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