China Mobile has denied an interest in the Hong Kong market, a day after it was revealed that rival China Unicom had secured a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licence. This is despite analysts' comments that an MVNO licence would benefit both operators, allowing them to provide roaming services between Hong Kong and China at a competitive price. Analysts said the licence would enhance China Unicom's competitiveness against China Mobile, the mainland's No 1 mobile operator. The licence gives China Unicom the right to lease spectrum from the four Hong Kong mobile operators that won licences in the SAR's third-generation mobile auction. Yesterday, a China Mobile official said: 'We have no current plan to do business in Hong Kong. Over the years, our focus has always been on the cellular market in China.' On Tuesday, China Unicom made it clear that its main purpose in obtaining the licence was to provide better roaming services between Hong Kong and China, not to compete in the Hong Kong market. A source close to China Mobile said the MVNO licence would not make much difference to the cost of providing roaming services to cross-border travellers, as it already provided such services by leasing capacity from Hong Kong operators. The source said: 'The difference between the current arrangement and offering your own services via MVNO is not that big. At the end of the day, you are leasing capacity from Hong Kong operators, except you can offer roaming service all the way in your own brand.' Analysts expected China Unicom's plan to offer services in Hong Kong to put pressure on SAR operators.