China 4G investment may reach $16 billion in 2014 - ministry

BEIJING Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:50pm IST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Investment in China's 4G mobile phone network could reach 100 billion yuan next year with the number of users topping 30 million in more than 300 cities, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the minister of Industry and Information Technology as saying on Friday.

Miao Wei made the comments at the ministry's annual work conference, Xinhua reported, and the minister said investment in 4G would make up almost one-third of China's total investment in mobile communications next year.

The ministry issued licences earlier this month for the TD-LTE 4G standard to the country's three telecom carriers - China Mobile Ltd (0941.HK), China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd (0762.HK) and China Telecom Corp Ltd (0728.HK).

The licence helped China Mobile, operator of the world's biggest mobile phone network with some 760 million users, land an agreement with Apple Inc (AAPL.O) to sell iPhones.

Last week, Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd HWT.UL said it expects revenue from its 4G mobile network business to double to $4 billion in 2014 compared with this year.

(Reporting by Jonathan Standing; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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