The explosive growth in Xiaolingtong citywide wireless services in China is expected to continue over the next two years, according to a report by South China Morning Post. The service, supplied by fixed-line operators China Telecommunications and China Netcom, is a wireless local loop network that allows mobile phone operation with a city. Neither company has received a licence to offer full mobile services.
An estimated 20m subscribers have signed up to Xiaolingtong over the past two years, attracted by its low costs. The marketing director of Beijing-based Norson Telecom Consulting, Allen Chen, said the service would continue to expand before a faster and bigger capacity 3G service was launched in China. He said the two companies had invested Yn22.2bn in launching the networks in hundreds of cities over the past two years and that a similar amount would be spent over the next two years.
The Ministry of Information Industry regards Xiaolingtong as an extension of a fixed-line service, which allows the operators to charge much cheaper rates than a full mobile service. Its relaxed attitude to the expansion of the service was confirmed when China Netcom announced that it was launching Xiaolingtong in Beijing's suburbs on March 20.