China Telecom said it will acquire the wireless business of China Unicom for $15.9 billion. China’s largest fixed-line operator said it will pay $9.55 billion for China Unicom’s CDMA network as well as $6.32 billion for the carrier’s subscriber base.
The acquisition is one of the first to be announced since Chinese regulators revamped the country’s telecom policies on May 24 in an effort to foster competition. The country will now allow fixed line telecom providers to also offer mobile services. China is one of the world’s fastest growing wireless telecom markets.
China Unicom also announced plans to acquire fixed-line operator China Netcom Group in a share swap. Valued at $56.3 billion, each China Netcom share will be traded for 1.508 new China Unicom shares; the value of the deal is based on the closing price of each company’s shares on May 23.
Under the terms of the deal, China Netcom will be delisted and will become a wholly owned unit of China Unicom. China Unicom expects the deal to close by the end of this year.