3G licensing saga to run and run

4 Jul 2005

According to reports in the China Business Post, details of the state’s plans to restructure the country’s telecoms industry will not be revealed until the end of the summer, in turn pushing back the timetable for the award of 3G licences. China was widely expected to issue UMTS concessions by the end of this year or early in 2006, but as yet no concrete proposals have been published. Although a wider plan for reorganising the Chinese telecoms sector has been finalised, it has not yet been passed to the State Council. The government is keen to streamline its telecoms industry before turning to the matter of issuing UMTS licences. Beijing is expected to keep licence fees to a minimum – between CNY100 million (USD12.1 million) and CNY200 million – and is believed to favour awarding at least four concessions and offering prospective bidders a choice of competing technologies, which it believes will keep prices relatively low.