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Sunday, January 01, 2006

China Sees 3G Licenses in 2006

China sees 3G Licenses in 2006
According to an article written by Jason Dean at the WSJ, China’s government is finally near a decision to issue licenses for 3G mobile services. Now it seems possible that Chinese people will have access to such services in 2006.

At a government meeting yesterday, China's top telecommunications regulator made his most definitive public statements yet on the timetable for licensing third-generation, or 3G, networks. Minister of Information Industry Wang Xudong said China would "finish formulating policies for the development of 3G technology and business" in 2006, according to a report by China's official Xinhua news agency. A ministry official attending the meeting confirmed the comments.

The discussion about China’s 3G license started more than five years ago and it has been pushed back several times due to a couple of factors:
  • uncertain consumer demand;

  • carriers’ need to recoup 2G investments;

  • the delayed launch of 3G services in Europe and the United States (China wants to observe these markets before decides to join); and

  • the long wait for local 3G standard TD-SCDMA to mature and be accepted (I predicted in 2002 that China wouldn’t launch 3G in the next three years and the government wanted to wait for a mature TD-SCDMA standard, supported by vendors and carriers).
China is already the largest wireless market in the world, with more than 380 million subscribers. Launching 3G in China will be a big boon to international network vendors such as Siemens, Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson, Motorola, Nortel, Huawei, and ZTE…
With the 2008 Olympics just around the corner, the government wants to have wide availability of commercial 3G services before then. The carriers also want to monetize the strong demand of Chinese consumers for multimedia mobile services such as music, video, and gaming.


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