iPhonAsia comment: 3G licenses were “approved” at year’s end (2008) … and now (apparently) they will formally be “issued” … This will unleash about $41 billion (USD) in cap ex to build out 3G network capacity.
The mainland telecoms regulator will likely issue licenses for third-generation (3G) mobile services today to all three telecom operators, a senior industry source said.
China Mobile »”>China Mobile(0941) will be issued a 3G license today, mainland news portal Sina.com reported yesterday.
However, the industry source said all three operators will receive 3G licenses on the same day. It would be politically unwise for the government to issue a license to one operator before the other two, the source said.
China Telecom, which is getting a license based on the US-developed CDMA2000 technology, will likely be the fastest to launch 3G services, the source said. China Telecom will start operating 3G services in the affluent coastal provinces and some first-tier cities in less than a month, according to the source. China Telecom could then fine-tune its offerings before launching 3G services nationwide, probably in about three months.
China Unicom, which will offer services based on the European-backed WCDMA technology, will likely take more than a year before it can launch nationwide 3G services, according to the source. Unicom may be able to launch services in a few select cities after six months, the source said.
China Mobile has a headstart, having run a test network for two years based on homegrown TD-SCDMA.
China Unicom shares fell 5.3 percent to HK$10.28 yesterday as investors locked in recent gains. China Mobile fell 2.4 percent to HK$83.