China's top smartphone vendor Xiaomi gets into wireless carrier business with Mi Mobile plan

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2015, 6:21pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2015, 6:21pm

Xiaomi is getting into the wireless- carrier business as the Chinese device maker tries to capitalise on reforms affecting government-owned companies.

Consumers will be able to order a SIM card via Xiaomi’s website starting Wednesday, the Beijing-based company said.

Users will pay per minute of talk time, per text message sent, or per megabyte of data transmitted across a network operated by China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd.

Xiaomi’s entry into phone services, dubbed Mi Mobile, comes as China’s government opens up the telecommunications sector to Mobile Virtual Network Operators, who lease capacity from established network owners.

Founder Lei Jun is moving the startup, valued at US$45 billion after a funding round last year, into online finance, smart-home devices and air filters.

In addition to the pay-as-you-go plan, Xiaomi next month will offer a package of 59 yuan (US$9.26) per month for 3 gigabytes of data usage through China Telecom's network, it said.

Xiaomi on Tuesday released a new smartphone, the Mi 4c, with a 5-inch screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor and 13-megapixel camera for 1,299 yuan. It also announced a new Bluetooth-enabled speaker for 199 yuan.