China Mobile, the biggest mobile operator in the country, plans to invest 58.8 billion yuan (8.6 billion U.S. dollars) to build 60,000 base stations in 2009 for the expansion of its third generation (3G) mobile phone network, the company announced here on Saturday.
Upon completion, the total number of China Mobile's 3G network base stations will top 80,000, covering 70 percent of the cities under provincial level across the country.
The 3G high-speed networks can handle faster data downloads, allowing handset users to make video calls and watch TV programs.
On Wednesday, China's telecommunications supervisor issued 3G mobile phone licenses to three domestic telecom companies.
China Mobile was awarded a license for TD-SCDMA, the domestically-developed 3G standard. The other two main carriers, China Telecom and China Unicom, received licenses for the U.S.-developed CDMA2000 and Europe's WCDMA, respectively.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, there could be about 280 billion yuan of direct investment in 3G networks over the next two years.
Analysts further predicted the development of 3G mobile service would lead to 2 trillion yuan in private-sector investment.
Apart from network construction, China Mobile also expressed its hope to sharpen the competitive edge in the 3G market by getting strong governmental support for the self-developed TD-SCDMA.