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China to Allocate Additional Spectrum to 3G Networks

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It has been reported that China is planning to allocate additional radio spectrum to the homegrown 3G service, by taking it from the low cost XiaoLingTong local area wireless service. Xie Feipo, from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said that the ministry had asked fixed line operators to return the PHS radio spectrum so it could be reassigned to the TD SCDMA network.

XiaoLingTong, or PHS networks typically operate in the1880-1930 MHz frequency band.

China Telecom operates a XiaoLingTong system in China, even though technically it was not regarded as allowed to provide mobile services, because of some particularities of the Chinese governance. China Netcom, the other fixed-line operator in China, also provides XiaoLingTong service. The system has been a runaway hit, with over 90 million subscribers signed up as of 2007. The largest vendors of the system are UTStarcom and ZTE.

Its low price has made it appealing to customers who cannot afford a conventional GSM or CDMA mobile phone. It also enabled the landline operators to provide a basic wireless service in competition with China Mobile and China Unicom.

Following the reshuffling of the industry, all the telecoms operators now have both a fixed and mobile license.

"We will reassign the spectrum as soon as possible," Xie Feipo told the South China Morning Post newspaper. Mr Xie said China Telecom and China Unicom, which have acquired fixed-line operator China Netcom Group, had responded positively to the idea.

In 2005, the MIIT tried to clamp down on the growth of the XiaoLingTong networks by forbidding customers from roaming between cities, and restricting access to the city area where the customer was registered.

On the web: South China Morning Post

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Tags: m1  roaming  china unicom  zte  china mobile  china telecom  td-scdma  rcom  cdma  utstarcom  china netcom  radio spectrum  landline  netcom  miit  China