The way ahead for China's full-service telecom carriers is IP networks, according to the head of the country's newest entrant to the market, China Network Communication (CNCC).
Within seven years, the country's telecom market will be larger than that of the US and India, the CNCC head added.
"We will become a new generation telecom service provider using an IP data network," said Edward Tian [CQ], CNCC's president and chief executive officer. He was speaking at the Asia-Pacific IT Summit held here. "We will be a new model of how a company can operate in China... with both technology innovation and (company) management reform."
Officially launched six months ago, CNCC is China's third state-owned full-service telecom carrier. The company's owners, each of whom own a 25 per cent stake in the carrier, are the China Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Railroads, Shanghai City Municipality and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
Last week, CNCC launched its first product, a 'Net telephony offering and has already sold 50,000 copies of the product, Tian said. "We expect to have revenue by the end of the year," he added.
CNCC aims to differentiate itself from existing full-service telecom market players - China Telecom and China Unicom - by primarily focusing on meeting the needs of Chinese businesses over the next three years, offering them bandwidth, services and VPNs, Tian said.
"We will build, own and operate a new generation long-haul network," Tian said. The planned 20Gbits-per-second IP/DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) fibre-optic network backbone will cover 6,000 miles and 15 Chinese cities, he explained.
"We will develop different business models," Tian said. "We won't do it all by ourselves, we will rely on ASPs."
This month, CNCC will start offering voice-over-IP services in 15 Chinese cities, he said. By March of next year, the carrier will build up international gateway services, then in the second quarter of 2000, CNCC's backbone will be ready for operations in 15 Chinese cities. Also in the second quarter of next year, the carrier's access network will be up and running for business customers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Tian said.
"Change takes time, especially when you're talking about 1.3 billion people," Tian said, commenting on the agreement recently struck between the US and China on the latter's entrance into the World Trade Organization (WTO), a move that has been 13 years in the making.
"The last two years (in China) have been very dynamic and change is very, very fast," Tian said. "Our company was created in less than a week and we will build one of the world's largest broadband infrastructures over the next six months."