(Yicai Global) July 23 -- Alibaba Cloud Computing and Xiaomi are among 15 companies that will be granted virtual telecom operator licenses following a successful five-year pilot scheme.
Alibaba Cloud, also known as AliCloud, Xiaomi Technology, Telling Telecommunication Holding, Digital Telecom, and HNA Telecom are the most prominent names on a list of approved operators published by China's industry and information technology ministry.
Beijing instituted trials in May 2013 to spur the flow of private capital into the country's telecoms sector. Since the first batch of provisional licenses was issued at the end of that same year, some 42 companies have taken part in the test program.
Virtual network operation, officially known as mobile communication resale, is the practice of buying mobile services from telecom carriers, repackaging and rebranding them, and selling on to consumers. In China, mobile phone numbers starting with 170 and 171 have been running on these networks.
Founded in April 2010, Beijing-based Xiaomi debuted in Hong Kong on July 9, raising about HKD24 billion (USD3.53 billion) in the world's second-biggest initial public offering so far this year. AliCloud, which is headquartered in Hangzhou, is a subsidiary of Jack Ma's e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding.
Editor: Ben Armour