China's mobile telecommunications market will start the second phase of its trial of the third generation (3G) mobile communications system soon, but this may also mean that the issuing of licenses in China for that technology will have to wait for another year until the results are made available.

Lou Qinjian, vice-minister of information industry (MII), said yesterday that the first phase of testing had just ended last month, that results were promising and that field testing will start soon.

"From the test results on the MTNet in the Chinese Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR), we think the 3G technologies and equipment are mature and the conditions for the field test are also mature," Lou said at the opening of the 3G in China Global Summit in Beijing, held by CATR. "We should do the testing in about one year's time and continue to prepare for the launch of 3G in China."

Wen Ku, director of MII's department of science and technology, also believed the results of the second phase test would pave the way for the rollout of 3G by telecom operators in the near future. Lou also pointed out that China should continue to research industry policies involving the market and avoid any risks associated with a premature launch.

Although Wen said the testing should not be associated with the exact timetable for the issuing of 3G licenses, industry analysts believe the remarks from the MII might suggest that it is not likely China will give out licenses until late next year. Wen said the second phase of testing will be conducted in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and all three 3G standards – WCDMA, CDMA 2000 and TD-SCDMA would participate in the trials.

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