While newly licensed 4G services will speed up China's mobile networks, navigation experts said the speed will open the way for a major leap in electronic navigation using China's homegrown Beidou satellite system.
"A modern information system needs three parts - the navigation system to provide timing and positioning services, the communication system to transfer information and the computing system for data processing," said Li Changjiang, chief commander of the Beidou system.
"4G will help promote the use of the Beidou system," he said.
The government granted 4G (or fourth generation) high-speed network licenses to the country's top three telecom carriers in early December. The networks, which will extend to 340 cities by 2014, are immensely faster than the previous generation of mobile technology.
"The 4G networks will accelerate data transfer, and thus broaden the use of navigation services," Li said.
One example is the use of navigation satellites to monitor vehicle flow on a particular stretch of highway or on a city street.
"In the past, networks overloaded easily in high-traffic areas, but with 4G, the speed is fast enough for real-time measurement of traffic," he said.
In April, Glodio, a company based in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, started developing smart cars based on a combination of 4G technology and the Beidou satellite navigation system.
The navigation device on the car will automatically give information - such as traffic conditions - to drivers and passengers, and can be operated through a hands-free voice system. Roughly 20,000 commercial vehicles in Wuxi will be the first to install the system.
Beidou supports all the infrastructure of 4G networks, said Chen Fuzhou, director of the Jiangsu BDS Application Industry Institute.
"The 4G networks need the timing services of the Beidou satellites, as mobile communications require very precise timing to support high speeds, especially for multimedia," he said.