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China Gets 3G Green Light

China took another step toward becoming a high-speed wireless economy this week when the country's State Council, its highest government body, gave the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) the go-ahead to award 3G licenses.

China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) is set to get a license to operate a network based on China's home-developed 3G standard, TD-SCDMA. China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA) will be awarded a CDMA 2000 license, while China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU) will get a WCDMA license.

The three carriers are expected to spend $41 billion on their 3G rollouts during the next two years, including $29 billion in 2009 alone. (See China's 3G Move to Trigger Spending.)

While the license awards had been widely anticipated, the move by the State Council still gave the share prices of some of the main companies involved in the 3G process a significant boost.

China Mobile's stock is up by $2.38, nearly 4.7 percent, today at $53.23 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) , while China Telecom is up $2.33, more than 6.1 percent, at $40.38.

On the Hong Kong stock exchange, China Unicom ended Friday up HK$0.82, more than 8.8 percent, at HK$10.12, while Chinese equipment vendor ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) closed up HK$1.85, more than 9.1 percent, at HK$22.15.

The other local vendor expected to benefit greatly from China's 3G network rollouts, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , is not a publicly listed company. (See Huawei, ZTE Predict 2009 Growth.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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