China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology today confirmed that the country will issue 3G mobile licences by the end of 2008 or early next year. Minister Li Yizhong said at a media briefing that China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have prepared well for 3G licensing. ‘After the proper procedures, we will grant the 3G licences by the end of this year or early next year, as promised.’ Li estimates that network investment of the three major Chinese telecom operators will amount to over RMB200 billion (USD29.19 billion), which will stimulate China’s economy and help to fend off the financial crisis.
China’s 3G licensing has been delayed as a result of the government’s support for China’s home-grown 3G mobile telecommunications standard TD-SCDMA. It is believed that this standard still needs some more time to compete with rival technologies. Last year China Mobile rolled out a pre-commercial TD-SCDMA network in eight cities, which provided 3G services during the Beijing Olympic Games. Li confirmed that China Mobile will be granted a TD-SCDMA licence, while China Telecom and China Unicom will get licences based on CDMA2000 and W-CDMA standards respectively.