HONG KONG (Reuters) - China’s telecoms regulator said on Monday that investment in third-generation mobile technology reached 143.5 billion yuan ($21 billion) this year, following its awarding of three 3G licenses early in the year.
The nationwide number of 3G users came to more than 10 million this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which regulates the telecommunications industry, said in a statement on its website.
But reflecting the state of intense competition following an industry revamp, the MIIT said that business volume for the industry should grow about 12 percent next year, but revenue would increase by a more modest 4.5 percent.
China’s 3G spending has been led by its three major wireless carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
Its top two equipment suppliers, Huawei Technologies and ZTE, have been the top beneficiaries of the spending spree, with foreign names like Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent also receiving some contracts.
“For information technologies, (the ministry) will take advantage of the development of 3G ... technologies to accelerate the telecoms industry’s transformation,” MIIT Minister Li Yizhong said on the ministry’s Website.
“We will continue to support the positive build-out of 3G and the development of TD technology research,” he said, in reference to a network being built by China Mobile using a homegrown technology known as TD-SCDMA.
Li said the country would also support development of next generation networks beyond 3G.
China Mobile has already said it would build a trial network based on TD-LTE, seen as the fourth-generation successor for its TD-SCDMA network.
Separately, the ministry said it would continue its recently launched crackdown on Web- and mobile-based pornography to for the next year.
Reporting by Doug Young; Editing by Chris Lewis