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The Chinese are preparing to launch the CooTel telecom brand in Ukraine

The Chinese are preparing to launch the CooTel telecom brand in Ukraine
Before launching the CooTel trademark in Ukraine, the Xinwei group tested the service in Cambodia
Photo: Getty Images

Beijing Xinwei Telecom Technology, Inc (an affiliate of the Chinese group Xinwei) registered CooTel trademark in Ukraine, reported the Ukrainian Institute of Industrial Property on July 25. The bid was submitted in January of this year. The brand allows for providing telecom services, including Internet access, television and the sale of gadgets.

As Capital wrote last week, the management of Xinwei entered into talks with the Ukrainian government on the construction of a new high-speed wireless data transmission network estimated at US $600 mn. People that Capital spoke with confirmed that the Chinese businessmen are proposing to create a joint venture with 20% state ownership. On the basis of the new infrastructure it will be possible to render e-government services and service the state sector.

As a reminder, Xinwei bought out the Ukrainian company ProSat with a radio frequency license for high-speed data transfer in the 1.8 GHz range back in 2012 (GSM operators are working in the similar frequency). Today the Chinese are holding talks with Datagroup on using of its above-ground infrastructure.

CooTel is a brand aimed at the mass market. Its registration proves that Xinwei has plans not only for expansion into the state and corporate segments of the market, but also in the telecom retail market. Noteworthy is that the domain was already reserved for one of the managers of the Prosat company last year. “CooTel is a full platform of services that the Chinese want to apply to Ukraine,” one of the managers close to the company told Capital.

The brand was not specifically designed for Ukraine. Xinwei has been operating under it on the market in Cambodia since the end of 2013 and is positioning itself as the first 4G operator in the country, also as a discounter in the sphere of Internet access services and in international telephony.

Besides telecom services, CooTel also provides different Internet services, for example, its own online supermarket CooMarts, the CooTalk messenger, the Coowin apps portal, the game portal CooGames, the electronic payments system CooBill and others.

Since the 4G standards, supplied by Xinwei is a niche one (McWill), the company also supplies its own smartphones to Cambodia. The Chinese are also planning to use McWill in Ukraine. Last week the National Communication Regulation and Informatization Commission approved the first subscriber device of Xinwei for corporate users. On the mass market CooTel uses dual-SIMAndroid smartphones, which besides the Chinese standard, support regular GSM.

An interlocutor of Capital added that for starters a market analysis on the subject of the expediency of introducing all services of the platform must be conducted. “Ukraine, after all, is not Cambodia,” he noted, adding that the Chinese are still pondering the risks and are slow to make a decision due to the current situation in Ukraine.

President of the SV Consulting company Oleh Stefanyuk believes that the Cambodian brand will be a niche brand on the Ukrainian mass market. He says the Chinese have greater prospects in the state sector, for example, in the sphere of servicing communications for the law enforcement bodies. “But on the mass consumer market, I think their main competitor will be Intertelecom from which the Chinese can gain 10-15% of the subscriber base,” the expert predicts. “The reserve of the financial durability allows the Chinese company to dump prices on the mobile Internet market,” Marketing Director of WiMax under the Giraffe operator Taras Kucheryaviy presumes. Earlier there were discounters in Ukraine in the sphere of voice mobile communications (Beeline, earlier life:)). But high-speed quality mobile Internet was never as cheap as voice mail. The average bill (ARPU) for Giraffe, for example, is UAH 130/month. Intertelecom offers a tariff plan Simple 3G with 1 Gb of traffic for UAH 60/month or 0.5 Gb for UAH 7 per day in the Free Day tariff. Meanwhile, CooTel offers 1 Gb for only US $1.00 (UAH 12).

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