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China Unicom chairman sees 'golden time' for 3G services
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Development of China's third-generation (3G) mobile telecommunications network service will enter a "golden time" despite the gloomy industrial situation worldwide, China Unicom Chairman Chang Xiaobing said in a published article.

"Although the world economy is undergoing a tough time amid the widespread financial crisis, and the telecommunications industry faces great uncertainty, China's telecom carriers still expect vast opportunities," Chang said in an article in Caijing magazine's latest yearbook.

Diversified customer demand would lead expansion of such services, including faster data downloads, allowing cell phone users to make video calls and watch TV programs, he noted.

More opportunities and competition will emerge after telecom operators receive 3G licenses from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), according to Chang.

The top three telecom companies are expected to receive 3G licenses soon. China Mobile will use TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), while China Unicom and China Telecom will use Europe's WCDMA and North America's CDMA 2000, respectively.

MIIT head Li Yizhong confirmed that the government would give "strong support" to promote the domestic TD-SCDMA standard. Relevant departments were asked to enhance industrialization of core chips, terminals and test equipment as well as to expand network coverage.

China will invest 280 billion yuan (41 billion U.S. dollars) to develop the 3G mobile telecommunications network over the next two years.

China has the biggest telecom network worldwide, with 977 million phone users as of September, including 624 million cell phone users and 353 million fixed phone customers. There were 253 million people online at the same time.

(Xinhua News Agency January 3, 2009)

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