China 3G licensing plans
May 30, 2008
An official from China’s State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) has indicated that the overall direction for issuing 3G licences once the telecom industry restructuring is complete has been settled. China Mobile is operating a TD-SCDMA network, the new China Telecom is building a CDMA2000 network on the basis of its acquired CDMA business, whilst the new China Unicom is upgrading from GSM to WCDMA.
According to rumours, China Mobile may be the lead operator of TD-SCDMA in the future, with the other two operators also using the standard. If China Mobile is not the only TD-SCDMA operator and other TD-SCDMA licenses are issued, China Mobile will also receive a WCDMA licence.
However, China Mobile is currently in talks with China Telecom and China Netcom over acquiring their trial TD-SCDMA networks, and the government has made explicit its intention to throw its weight behind the standard. Given this, it is unlikely that China Mobile will be receiving a WCDMA licence in the near future.