The Chinese are coming, and their first target is your wireless phone. China Telecom announced Thursday that it plans to offer wireless service in the United States beginning early next year. The state-owned communications company is aiming its services at Chinese-Americans, students and tourists who frequent both countries.
Customers will have two numbers for their phones, a Chinese and American number. Pricing has not been disclosed, but China Telecom Americas president Donald Tan told Bloomberg that it will be “competitive”.
China Telecom is in the process of finding a partner, which indicates the early iteration of the service will operate as a reseller. It appears though that the company is looking into purchasing its own wireless network depending on its success.
That could be problematic: Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei was blocked from participating in an national emergency communications network due to homeland security issues. Undoubtedly, an effort aimed at building a Chinese-owned wireless network here in the United States will face a good deal of scrutiny.
China Telecom’s move is not without precedent: Japanese carrier DoCoMo already has a service offering here, targeted at Japanese consumers who travel between Japan and the US.