China Mobile will invest a total of 58 billion yuan (US$8.53 billion) this year on the third phase construction of the domestically-developed 3G network, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The investment, which surpasses the company's total investment in its two-phase construction of the 3G network, will expand signal coverage to more than 200 cities on the Chinese mainland, six times compared with the present level, China Mobile said yesterday.
In the first half of this year, Chinese carriers invested 80 billion yuan on 3G, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
By the end of last month, China had 1.2 million TD-SCDMA (time division-synchronous code division multiple access) users.
The number is expected to hit 50 million within three years, according to the ministry.
"To develop the home-grown 3G network, telcos should establish the network with the same coverage and quality of 2G," the ministry said.
China issued 3G licenses in January to three telcos. The 3G technology gives cell phone users high-speed data services such as film download and video call.
Between 2009 and 2010, the three carriers will invest a total of 280 billion yuan on 3G, said Lu Xiangdong, vice president of China Mobile.
(Shanghai Daily July 28, 2009)