China is planning to issue 4G licenses this year, according to an officer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Speaking at the MIIT’s press conference this week, Zhu Jun, deputy director of the ministry’s communication development department, confirmed that the State Council has decided to grant 4G licenses this year.
Zhu said the LTE licenses would be issued “at the appropriate time”, considering such factors as the maturity of the LTE technology, development of industry chains as well as license applications from the cellcos.
“At present, we’ve allocated the spectrum for LTE and timely expand[ed] the scale of TD-LTE tests,” he added.
TD-LTE trial networks in 15 cities had already been built out with more than 20,000 base stations, and have “achieved good results,” Zhu noted.
"The next step is to work on numbering resources, industry standards, network equipment and other aspects required for the LTE licensing."
Zhu’s remarks echoes the Beijing government’s previously-stated intention of issuing 4G licenses by year-end. Yet it failed to provide such details as how many licenses will be given out. Nor did it address the rumors that the three cellocs will be required to adopt TD-LTE technology.
Despite the uncertainties, the three Chinese mobile carriers are ramping up their 4G planning as the allocation gets closer.
As well as China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom will also reportedly start testing LTE technology with trial networks.