China may release 4G licenses to telecoms

By Chen Tian Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-18 22:43:01

China may grant highly anticipated 4G licenses to the country's three major telecommunications companies by the end of this week or in late November, Securities Journal reported Monday.

The newspaper cited an unnamed source who is familiar with the matter as saying that China Mobile's internal departments in charge of its 4G services have been "unusually busy" these days and the company might release "important news" this week.

China Mobile told the Global Times Monday that they have not yet received a firm date from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which will grant the 4G license, but it has done preparation work to welcome the ­release.

Liu Dalong, director of the mobile ­Internet research center at Beijing-based iResearch Consulting Group, told the Global Times that China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom are doing a large amount of preparation, which ­indicates that the release of the 4G ­licenses might be soon.

China Mobile lost many high-end clients, who generate more profits than customers buying basic call and text services, to smaller rivals China Unicom and China Telecom due to its shortcomings in the 3G market, a veteran telecom analyst surnamed Ma told the Global Times on Monday.

"China Mobile is poised to win the high profit margin consumers back by installing 4G network infrastructure and testing the service before the other two companies," Ma said.

The Beijing branch of China Mobile will start offering 4G network connection on Wednesday through its newly launched terminal MiFi, which transfers 4G signal to Wi-Fi signal, to the company's new mobile WLAN service users, news portal reported Monday.

Ten China Mobile retailing outlets in Beijing have been accepting bookings for 4G cell phones since November 6.

According to China Mobile's website, it is accepting applications from customers who want to try the 4G service for free.

The application has ended for users in cities including Beijing and Shanghai, but remains open for six other cities such as Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, and Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Liu said that mobile Internet users will not jump on the 4G service as soon as it is offered, because many of them are satisfied with 3G.

Ma said that the 3G market is still booming, but customers who like playing games and seeing movies online will quickly embrace the 4G service because of its high speed.

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