China 3G Licences: Definitely maybe sometime this year

By Reuters Staff
March 2, 2006

leung_small.jpgTelecom investors have suffered for years while the Chinese government tried to make up its mind over which technologies to license for third-generation mobile phone networks. So long in fact, that many now discount just how big a deal it may prove to be for Western communications equipment makers. The following are comments from top wireless equipment suppliers at the Reuters Global Tech, Media and Telecoms Summit:

Paul Jacobs, Chief Executive of Qualcomm Inc., in New York:

“Some fairly small group of people is going to make a decision and they are going to make it on their timetable. I’ve kinda given up trying to predict,” Jacobs said.

Simon Leung, head of Motorola Inc.’s Asia business, in Hong Kong:

“Let me toss a coin. I’ve been predicting it for the last two years, and I’ve been wrong every time.”

His latest prediction on the subject is for the license award to take place in December of 2006, around the global ITU show taking place in Hong Kong.

Patricia Russo, Lucent Technologies Inc. chairman and CEO, in New York:patricia_russo_2_small.jpg

“I remember…talking about whether there would be decisions in ’05 and then, you know, it keeps moving out and moving out and moving out, and now it’s sometime perhaps in ’06 and now it’s sometime later in ’06,” Russo said.

She said that whatever decision China makes must come in time for networks to be built ahead of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, the country’s big shot at showcasing its status as an economic and political powerhouse. For a full story on Lucent, click here.

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