The long-awaited issuance of 4G licenses finally was announced by Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology this afternoon. It’s not a surprise that all the three Chinese operators have obtained licenses, but all of them are, at least this time, only allowed to adopt the TD-LTE technology which is jointly developed by China Mobile, Huawei, ZTE, Datang Telecom, Qualcomm and several others.

It is reported that China Mobile has invested some 41.7 billion yuan (about $6.7 billion) this year to build some 200,000 TD-LTE base stations. Now it allows users to upgrade to TD-LTE service free of charge and with no need to change phone numbers.

As the largest telecom operator in China, China Mobile lost traction in 3G times. One of the causes is TD technology which wasn’t widely adopted in the rest of world. TD is also a reason that China Mobile so far still don’t sell iPhones. Now with 4G China Mobile reportedly will start selling the latest models of iPhone soon.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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