Chinese authorities have finally issued 4G licenses for the three major telecommunication operators in the country, as Xinhua reports. This means they can kick off their 4G commercial plans for consumers in the world’s largest smartphone market to receive faster data speeds.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the TD-LTE license to China Mobile today, which will likely herald in the arrival of the iPhone on its network (very) soon — a huge step forward for Apple, considering that it has never been present on the world’s largest carrier with over 740 million customers.
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Earlier this year, Apple already gained regulatory approval for its iPhones to run on the TD-LTE standard used by China Mobile for its 4G networks.
China Telecom and China Unicom received both the TD-LTE license today as well, though they should be getting additional FDD-LTE licenses soon, opening the doors to a wider variety of 4G-supported handsets they can introduce to customers.
The 4G commercial roll-out will vary according to the three carriers’ timelines, but China Mobile has already been testing its fast-speed service in cities including Beijing, Guangzhou and Hangzhou. At the same time, manufacturers have been submitting their 4G-supported handsets for approval to radio communication device regulator TENAA.
Headline image via Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images