BEIJING, March 7 (UPI) -- China's telecom operators may start receiving licenses this year to offer services on its fourth-generation mobile phone network, a minister said.
"China has made breakthroughs in R&D [research and development] of 4G technologies but is still facing restrictions in commercial use," Information Technology Industry Minister Miao Wei was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
He stressed the need to speed up base station construction and provide more terminal products for the new high-speed mobile service that promises maximum Internet speed several times faster than that of 3G.
"We will promulgate supporting policies at an appropriate time to guide the construction and development of the 4G network," Miao said.
Hangzhou and Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang province last month launched a 4G mobile phone network for commercial use on a trial basis, allowing subscribers there to access the service with an $80 deposit, the report said.
China Mobile, the country's largest mobile operator, uses Time Division Long Term Evolution, one of two international standards, for the 4G network, the report said.
With the advancement in the technology, 4G wireless cards and 4G mobile phones are expected to be ready for commercial use this year, the report said. The minister also said China will further encourage private investment in the telecom industry.