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China to Issue 3 Licenses for 3G After Telecom Restructure

Chinese officials said Saturday that the country aims to issue three licenses for its third generation mobile phone technology (3G) following an industry reorganization beginning Friday.

"Based on the current situation of the telecom industry, we encourage China Telecom to buy China Unicom's code-division multiple access (CDMA) network and China Unicom to incorporate with China Netcom," the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Finance said in a joint statement.

China Unicom has two mobile networks, the CDMA and the global system for mobile communications (GSM)

"We encourage China Telecom to combine the basic telecom services unit of China Satcom and China Mobile Communications Corp. (CMCC) to take control of China Tietong Telecommunications Corp.," said the statement.

China Telecom, China Netcom, and China Tietong are fixed line providers, while China Satcom offers services including satellite, mobile communications and Internet services.

The statement came one day after the CMCC, the parent of China Mobile, the nation's No.1 wireless operator, announced that China Tietong became its wholly-owned subsidiary.

The move began the long-anticipated industry restructuring.

"Three 3G licenses would be issued to help create three competitive phone companies that have telecom resources nationwide, near equal strength and scale, and can offer both mobile and fixed-line services," the statement noted.

China has promised to provide 3G services for the Olympic Games in August.

(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2008)

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