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Chinese 3G Standard Finds Support
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TD-SCDMA, a Chinese home-grown standard for third generation (3G) mobile telephony, is gaining wider industry support, especially from mobile phone manufacturers, an industry alliance chief said yesterday.


Currently about 20 manufacturers have developed more than 100 mobile phone models based on the TD-SCDMA standard, Yang Hua, secretary-general of TD-SCDMA Industry Alliance, told China Daily at the ITU World Telecom 2006 in Hong Kong.


The moves have given a major boost to the TD-SCDMA standard, which has been playing catch-up with rival standards WCDMA and CDMA 2000. WCDMA is a European-initiated 3G standard, backed mainly by companies such as Ericsson and Nokia. CDMA 2000 is a US-backed standard.


Unlike WCDMA and CDMA 2000, TD-SCDMA has yet to be commercially deployed. A lack of mobile phones based on the standard has been one of the largest bottlenecks thwarting the development of the Chinese technology. It has even slowed down the trials of TD-SCDMA network equipment, engineered by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII).


In the past months, an increasing number of handset makers, including foreign makers such as Samsung, have ramped up efforts in developing TD-SCDMA terminals.


Yang revealed Motorola is also testing a TD-SCDMA handset model.


The support from Motorola, the world's second-largest mobile phone maker, could give a boost to the standard, as the awareness of handset brands among consumers could be crucial to the success of TD-SCDMA after the 3G services are rolled out.


Without support from leading handset manufacturers, TD-SCDMA operators could find it hard to woo consumers.


Currently, most TD-SCDMA handset developers are Chinese brands, which have under-performed in the domestic 2G (second generation) handset market compared to major foreign brands.


Nokia and Sony Ericsson are still adopting a wait-and-see attitude in the TD-SCDMA handset market, but Yang said with the prospects of TD-SCDMA becoming brighter, more and more foreign makers will join the camp.


"TD-SCDMA is now ready for commercial deployment. We are awaiting the government to award operators with the licences to build 3G networks," he said.


MII chief Wang Xudong yesterday said the government could "very soon" hand out the 3G licences to operators.


The increasing momentum TD-SCDMA has gained in the past months has accelerated the 3G licensing process in China, which has been stalled in recent years.


(China Daily December 5, 2006)


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