The merger of wireless provider China Unicom and landline provider China Netcom Group is expected to close in mid-October, following shareholder meetings in September, the companies said.
After the merger, the new company will be renamed China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited, will receive a 3G license from the Chinese government and will open with 259 million subscribers – 128 million GSM users, 109 million local fixed users and 23.36 million broadband users, officials said.
Unicom chairman and CEO Chan Xiaobing will retain his roles. “Globally, the telecommunications industry is moving toward the convergence of fixed-line and wireless services. By combining the resources and business strengths of Unicom and Netcom in different areas, and upon obtaining a license for 3G services, the merged company will aim to become a world-class provider of broadband communications and information services,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Integration of the companies is expected to last less than a year, and planned 3G investments for 2009 and 2010 will be more than $14.5 billion, officials said. Unicom also released a detailed memo to shareholders explaining financial details and timeframes.
Unicom said that Telefonica, the largest outside investor, is committed to voting in favor of the merger.