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China Announces Long-Awaited 3G Wireless Licenses

Date: 1/7/2009 11:06:21 AM

The government of China announced on Wednesday that it would award third-generation (3G) wireless licenses to mobile phone carriers, in what could be a major windfall for networking equipment suppliers.

China’s industry minister predicted last month that Chinese carriers would spend the equivalent of US$41 billion on base stations, switches, transmission gear, and other equipment, after 3G licenses are awarded. These purchases will come at a crucial time for global wireless equipment vendors, who are struggling to avoid the effects of the global economic crisis.

The Chinese government has not officially said which carriers will receive which licenses, but state-owned media outlets have reported that China Mobile will operate networks based on China’s homegrown TD-SCDMA standard, while its competitors, China Unicom and China Telecom will use the global technologies, WCDMA and CDMA-2000, respectively.

China has dragged its feet on granting 3G licenses for the past couple of years, so the government could develop its own TD-SCDMA system to be competitive with global 3G technologies.

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