China's three state-run operators on Friday formed a joint venture that paves the way for them to share tower infrastructure.
The company, called China Communications Facilities Services Corporation Limited, has a registered share capital of 10 billion yuan (€1.18 billion). China Mobile holds 40%, China Unicom 30.1%, and China Telecom 29.9%.
The joint venture will be tasked with the construction, maintenance and operation of the telcos' towers, as well as ancillary systems, such as power and air conditioning, for base stations. It will also be responsible for outsourcing maintenance services for base station equipment.
In separate stock exchange filings, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom said they are currently holding preliminary talks over the specific assets they will contribute to the joint venture.
China Unicom "is of the view that the establishment of China Communications Facilities Services Corporation Limited will reduce duplication and redundant construction of telecommunications towers and related telecommunications infrastructure," the company said, in its filing.
Similar sentiments were expressed by China Mobile and China Telecom.
The companies revealed they were in talks about forming a tower-sharing joint venture in late April in the hope of reducing the cost and improving the efficiency of rolling out their networks.
All three operators were awarded TD-LTE licences last year. China Mobile in particular has seen strong demand, adding 3.31 million customers in May, giving it a 4G customer base of 8.11 million.
Meanwhile, China Unicom and China Telecom are keen to roll out the more common FDD version of LTE so they can offer a broader range of devices.
Both China Telecom and China Unicom have been granted trial FDD LTE licences that will enable them to deploy hybrid TD-LTE/FDD LTE networks in 16 cities.