China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has give the authorization to China Mobile to use mobile phone numbers that begin with 188 in TD-SCDMA.
This 188 number field was originally given to China Netcom by MIIT for the internal tests of the trial network of TD-SCDMA. Over the internal test period, the number fields of 188 and 189 were given to China Netcom and China Telecom. However, as China Mobile took over the TD-SCDMA network of Baoding and Qingdao, these two number fields were withdrawn. At present, China Mobile uses the 157 number field as its TD-SCDMA commercial test numbers in eight cities.
The number 8 is lucky in China and is often used for auspicious dates, times, and increments. For example, the Beijing Olympics will begin on the eight day of the eighth month of the year 2008.
China Mobile has been selected to be the major operator of TD-SCDMA. On April 24, MIIT unveiled a document which says that to support China Mobile's test to enlarge the scope of TD-SCDMA network technology, the ministry gives the authorization to China Mobile to use the 188 number field. But these phone numbers are strictly limited to China Mobile's TD-SCDMA users.