BEIJING Nov 25 China Mobile Ltd, the
world's largest mobile carrier by number of users, will begin
commercial services of its high-speed 4G network on December 18,
the Shanghai Daily reported on Monday.
China Mobile, whose 759 million users make up 62 percent of
China's total 1.2 billion mobile subscribers, will launch its 4G
service first in Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing, the newspaper
cited a China Mobile official in Shanghai as saying.
The government is expected to issue licenses for 4G before
China Mobile's services start, the report said.
These licenses would mainly benefit China Mobile, as they
are expected to be for its Chinese-made 4G standard rather than
the international standard rivals China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd
and China Telecom Corp Ltd are chiefly using
to build their networks.
China Mobile Ltd is investing billions of dollars to upgrade
its infrastructure so clients can enjoy speedier Internet and
data access once the government awards 4G telecom licences
before the end of the year.
China Mobile has been slower than its two rivals China
Unicom and China Telecom to build up more profitable 3G
subscriptions. By investing heavily in 4G, China Mobile has
forced China Unicom and China Telecom to keep pace despite the
companies still having room to grow their 3G user bases.
But the heavy spending could take years to pay off as
Chinese consumers are unlikely to pay large amounts extra for 4G
and faster Internet allows data-based services like social
messaging apps to eat into revenues from SMS and voice calls.
China Mobile's 3G network, slower than the international 3G
standards used by its rivals, was also developed in China, and
has been partly blamed for the network's low 3G subscriber
China Mobile was not immediately available to comment.
(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Jane Merriman)