Speaking at a press conference, Chinese industry minister Li Yizhong confirmed the country will award three licenses, , including global 3G standards, and China’s local technology, TD-SCDMA. China Unicom will be assigned W-CDMA and China Telecom will be given CDMA-2000.
The minister also predicted improving the networks for efficient use of 3G could cost the country c.$29 billion, according to Bloomberg.
The news follows recent revelations that another key target Far East market, South Korea, has relaxed rules requiring handsets sold in the country be equipped with a locally-developed and uniquely-used mobile standard, WIPI.
Put together and given continued mutterings of chats between Apple and Chinese mobile phone manufacturers, it suggests a potential launch of the iPhone in South Korea in the first quarter, with a full-blown launch in China (including 3G) at a subsequent point.