Reuters reported eight hours ago, citing a top academic in China, that Chinese telephone companies will be expected to spend $24 billion, or 200 billion yuan on the upgrading of the networks.
Hou Ziqiang, a professor in Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that "China will require investment of 200 billion yuan to switch completely to 3G (third-generaton mobile networks)", reported Reuters. He also said that the 3G roll-out will come after a highly anticipated industry restructuring that some believe could reduce the current field of four major players to three.
Hou, 67, the decade-old Chairman of China Kejian Corporation, a manufacturer making mobile-phone in China, resigned last month. He is now the independent non-executive director of Hong Kong-listed China Netcom(Hong Kong), the second largest fixed-line telecom company in China, and reported as the top science advisor of China Netcom by local media.
A long-term supporter for the reform in Chinese telecom industry, in both regulating infrastructure and free market competition, Hou has been active in the discussions on the topic such as merging regulators in the telecom and media industry in the same way as Federal Communications Commission in U.S. did.
His words came unexpectedly facing the uncertain restructuring plan to the current players. If Hou is right that restructuring will come before the investment of 3G, then how come he knows the exact number of money spending on 3G before the restructuring? Or the restructuring has already been progressing without noticing?
Unfortunately, this piece is not favored by the media in China, where I couldn't find anyone report it yet. In some extent, it shows that Hou's words may be true, or too sensitive.