BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's telecommunications supervisor on Wednesday issued the long-awaited third-generation mobile phone licenses to three mobile operators, in a move that is expected to see billions of dollars invested in building new networks.
An announcement from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said China's biggest mobile operator, China Mobile, was awarded a license for TD-SCDMA, the country's domestically-developed 3G standard.
The other two main network carriers, China Telecom and China Unicom, received licenses for the U.S.-developed CDMA2000 and Europe's WCDMA respectively.
The 3G high-speed networks are capable of handling faster data downloads, allowing handset users to make video calls and watch TV programs.
The MIIT also issued 23 regulations detailing requirements on 3G network operation in aspects such as market competition, consumer rights, user information security, telecommunication charges management and facility building.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, approved the move on Dec. 31. It is expected to see 280 billion yuan of direct investment in new networks over the next two years, MIIT Minister Li Yizhong said on Dec. 19.
The 280-billion-yuan investment would see a massive input of private capital, said Chen Jinqiao, deputy chief engineer of the MIIT's telecommunications research institute.
An unnamed official with China Mobile said the market leader wound make the development of TD-SCDMA its top priority. China Mobile had started construction of new networks to cover all cities by 2011.
China has the world's biggest population of mobile phone users at more than 600 million.