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China's telecom sector gets 3G licenses
Updated: 2009-01-08 15:57

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has issued licenses for next generation, or 3G mobile networks. They were issued to its three state-run carriers on Wednesday afternoon. The world's largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, and smaller rivals China Unicom and China Telecom also received the licenses. The 3G network allows many new functions such as video conferencing and Internet access.

When is 3G available?
The issuing of the licenses does not mean that the service will be available immediately. The three carriers have different time tables. Currently, only China Mobile mobile phone users in eight cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin can apply for the 3G service. By the end of June this year, the 3G network will cover all major cities nationwide.

Is the 3G service expensive?
The three mobile carriers have all said that they will take full consideration of consumers' financial capabilities. The 3G service is only available on special 3G cellphones. s. The price will range from one to six thousand yuan based on their functions.

Do users have to change phone numbers?
Both China Mobile and China Telecom say their users can enjoy the 3G service without changing their phone number. China Unicom said it hasn't decided whether it will do the same.