China’s telecoms authority is planning to issue commercial 4G operating licences later this year, Chinese state news agency Xinhua quotes minister of industry and information technology Miao Wei as saying, though the minister did not reveal a schedule for the distribution of concessions. ‘China has made breakthroughs in research and development of 4G technologies, but is still facing restrictions in commercial use,’ the official said, noting that base station construction needed to be hastened and more terminals made available to end users – both of which will require greater financial and technological input. Miao Wei added that the ministry ‘will promulgate supporting policies at an appropriate time to guide the construction and development of the 4G network.’ 4G services are currently available on China Mobile’s trial Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the cellco has launched large scale trial networks in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen. China Mobile announced late last month that its networks in Guangzhou and Shenzhen were nearing commercial level, having rolled out 6,500 base stations across the two cities.