Rumour had it that China would be issuing 3G licenses next year, and now the Chinese government has made it official. Wang Xudong, head of the Ministry of Information Industry, held a press conference yesterday announcing the news, and went on to say that the number of mobile phone users in China is predicted to increase by up to 1 billion by 2010.
Wang assured the public that wireless 3G services will be available for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, giving users the capability to transfer huge amounts of information in a very short amount of time. Perhaps certain events, like the opening ceremonies, will be broadcast over mobile TV, for example.
Although Europe’s Wideband-CDMA and America’s CDMA 2000 may also be available, the Chinese government “will give the greatest support to homegrown intellectual property,” the government said, suggesting that it will back Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA) developed in China. Testing of the 3G technologies has already taken place in at least three Chinese cities: Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. A handful of telecom operators, including China Mobile and China Telecom, have outfitted hundreds of base stations to facilitate the technologies. It wasn’t a totally homeland project, however. Nokia and Siemens were among the manufacturers taking part in the tests.
The 3G contracts awarded by Chinese carriers are said to be valued at $10 billion USD over the next four years. And the new technologies have wide-ranging applications after the Olympics, including film services, videoconferencing, and large-bandwidth games.