China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has announced plans to award third-generation mobile phone licenses as early as this month or early 2009.
It said China Mobile will be granted the homegrown 3G standard TD-SCDMA, China Unicom will operate a WCDMA system, and China Telecom will get a CDMA 2000 license. It estimates network investment of at least CNY 200 billion ($29.2 billion) by the three major operators.
In July China said 3G licenses would be issued after a six-month restructuring process involving the merger of China Mobile with the smaller China Tietong Communications and the transfer of CDMA mobile network assets from China Unicom to China Telecom. Last year, China Mobile installed pre-commercial TD-SCDMA network in major cities of China, which was used to provide 3G service during the Beijing Olympic Games.
Li Yizhong, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, said: We are now drawing up specific rules and regulations to prevent a repeat of previous phenomena like duplicated construction, wasted capital, wasted resources, and increasing the burden on the environment. It goes without saying that we want to support TD-SCDMA, which possesses homegrown intellectual property rights.