China’s four main telecom operators are actively preparing for the impending roll-out of 3G telecommunications networks, the official China Securities Journal reported Tuesday. According to the journal, China Unicom plans to launch a 3G network in Macau in the second quarter of this year and is seeking a 3G license to operate in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Netcom have all conducted trial tests using both the internationally-proven WCDMA 3G standard and the homegrown TD-SCDMA competitor. These trial networks are currently supported by 100 bases. Meanwhile, China Netcom is looking to contract its investment spending from 31% of total revenues in 2006 to 25% this year, vice-president Zhu Lijun told the journal, and consolidate its internal asset structure. China Netcom sold Asia Netcom to a group led by the private equity firms Ashmore Investment Management and Spinnaker Capital in August 2006. China Telecom Chairman and CEO Wang Xiaochu said the fixed-line operator would look to acquire assets to assist it offer 3G-orientated services sooner and more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.28 billion) has already been invested to run 3G trials in ten cities.

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