The third-generation-mobile (3G) policy and deployment in China: Current status, challenges, and prospects
Since the inception of telecom reform in 1994, structural reform has been a main thread surrounding the course of the development of China's telecommunications industry. In structuring the 2008 reform and the 2009 3G rollout China's government adopted a relatively balanced approach in the hope of creating level-playing-field in 3G era. Nevertheless, due to the presence of substantial switching costs, substitution effects from the present technology mode, that is, 2.5G, the absence of killer applications, among other technological and institutional factors, China may not have a realistic 3G era before moving toward 4G and beyond. At the bare minimum, currently there is a lacking of either adequate technological-push or demand-pull for a full-scale 3G commercialization--there is no sign that this situation will change in the near term. Triggered by recent initiatives of market convergence between the telecommunications, Internet, and cable, a renewed circle of market, and regulatory reform is probably necessary to cast a sounder industry basis for a timing migration toward the next-generation-networks (NGNs). The timing migration toward 4G (and beyond) may provide a chance for a late-mover nation like China to leapfrog its western counterparts in leading the industry in the era of NGNs. To this end, China is confronted with a challenge in re-examining its industry policy as well as technological strategies for a sustainable development in the era of NGNs. This study offers heuristic analysis and insights on the above issues based on archival documents and interviews. While implications are suggested for China's circumstances, the Chinese experiences may also be considered by other countries and investors when it comes to 3G (and beyond) policies, regulations, deployments, and evolutions.
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Volume (Year): 35 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
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