China 3G Licences: Definitely maybe sometime this year

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.

Viacom CEO — Those Google guys are soooo cool

Tom_Freston_60pct.jpgHey, Google guys, youve got a fan! The MTV guy! Cool! 

Tom Freston, CEO of Viacom Inc. and a founder of the cable music video network back in the early 1980s  has seen his company become a touchstone of Whats HOT for young people around the globe, on Wednesday cheered the executives at Google. 

Despite his veteran status in the media industry, Freston, 60, is only in his third month as chief executive of a publicly traded company forcing to meet the demands of investors and not just cool kids. That makes the leaders of Google old-er hands (sort of) at the running-a-huge-company game.

 Asked if he had any further advice for Google, he countered:  

Im (a few) months into being CEO of a public company, and I keep thinking they should be giving ME some advice, Freston said at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in New York on Wednesday. “They have a pretty good idea of what they are doing, and they seem to take a lot of shots and move pretty fast and it seems to be working for them. 

fries.jpgMaybe they should have checked with Freston on one thing, however.

Asked what he thought of the fact that Googles CFO on Tuesday warned of slowing growth only two days before an analysts’ meeting, driving the stock down 7 percent he said: I dont think thats something you are supposed to do. But remember, Im new at this. 

In Paris, Liberty Media CEO Mike Fries told Reuters: “Google seems to be coming back to Earth. I don’t know where the ground is there, but they’re coming back to Earth.”