China issued licenses for high-speed mobile-phone services today, clearing the way for as much as $41 billion of spending on so-called third-generation networks as the government seeks to bolster the slowing economy.
The 3G licenses were granted to China Mobile Ltd., China Unicom Ltd. and China Telecom Corp., Wang Lijian, a Beijing-based spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said by telephone. Services based on 3G allow faster downloads of Web pages, videos and music to handsets.
The government in China, home to more handset users than the total population of Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., projects its carriers will invest 280 billion yuan ($41 billion) to provide 3G services, bolstering an economy where growth has slowed to a five-year low. The spending would also benefit companies such as Ericsson AB and ZTE Corp., whose equipment powers the networks.