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China Promotes Tower Sharing by Mobile Operators

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China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has published new rules which encourage the mobile operators to share their network infrastructure where possible. The main beneficiaries are expected to be the two smaller operators, China Telecom and China Unicom who will now be able to rollout coverage quicker by sharing towers belonging to China Mobile.

If the conditions were not ready for sharing, operators should expand and adjust their technologies, said the ministry.

The operators will now also be required to share information about new base stations they plan to deploy, and any operator with existing towers in the area must notify them and make arrangements to share the infrastructure. They could be banned from building at the same sites and routes within three years if they fail to share towers where technically possible - subject to the usual issue with local officials ignoring the laws anyway.

China Telecom recently completed its $6.4 billion purchase of China Unicom's CDMA network, and is planning a USD4 billion network expansion tender.

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