Third-generation (3G) mobile telecom licenses are to be issued to Chinese operators at the beginning of next year, Li Yizhong, minister for industry and information technology, announced Friday. As expected, China Mobile will receive a license for TD-SCDMA, China’s homegrown 3G standard. China Unicom and China Telecom will receive licenses for WCDMA and CDMA2000 respectively. Li said the firms would have to reach an agreement on infrastructure sharing before the licenses could be awarded, the Financial Times reported. The awarding of the licenses is part of an industry-wide restructuring and consolidation effort. The move is expected to generate US$29.1 billion in investments from the three operators. According to telecom consultancy BDA China, the operators have already budgeted for US$43.4 billion in 3G-related capital expenditure, including projects completed this year or planned for completion over the next three years.
For more on China’s plans for its telecom industry, read this article from the April issue of CER.