Tricia Wang

Sociologist Tricia Wang maps out for the competitive playing field between China’s largest telecom providers, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. What can their customers expect for 2012?

Tricia Wang:

From the clouds to the ground, 2012 looks like it’s going to be an exciting year for mobile  industry. China Telecom is going abroad to offer mobile services for the transnational elite who travel between China and North America. China Unicom just launched a new mobile internet platform, the Wo-plus Opening System. Let’s see how long China Mobile 600 million 2G users can wait for 3G before switching to Unicom or Telecom. Now that China is the world’s largest smartphone market, how will the future of hardware and software evolve? We already have a glimpse from HTC of their new Sina Weibo smartphone. And then to top if off, both China Telecom and China Unicom may lower broadband prices!

With all these technical and market changes, one of the big questions for 2012 is will Chinese citizens will be relieved of telecommunications costs? Or will 2012 could be the equivalent to the 1996 Telecommunications Act in the United States where institutions benefited more from telecommunication reforms than individuals? [1] We’ll have to see who benefits from thee anti-monopoly investigation.

With the stable divisions of China Unicom, China Mobile, & China Telecom, we don’t hear of potential industry shake ups like this very often. I imagine that Chinese Telcom scholar, Eric Harwitt, is giddy with news. But luckily we have Marc Laperrouzag, so we won’t have to wait a few years for a book or paper to be published to stay up to date on the details.

Let’s hope for faster and more equitable broadband access in 2012! 新年快乐!

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Tricia Wang is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. She will be in Europe for an academic conference in Switzerland and is available for speeches in the third week of February. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch, or fill in our speakers’ request form.


More on Tricia Wang’s exploration of China’s economic underbelly at Storify.

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