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Ericsson 'in Talks' on Standard Trials
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Ericsson, the world's largest telecom equipment manufacturer, is in talks to participate in a new round of testing for China's home-grown 3G (third generation) standard, an industry source said.


That could boost the Chinese standard, TD-SCDMA, which has been trying to catch up with rival foreign standards WCDMA and CDMA 2000.


Ericsson is now talking with China Mobile to provide equipment to the TD-SCDMA trial networks in five cities including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Qinghuangdao and Shenyang, the source said.


Since March 2006, China Mobile, as well as fixed-line telephone operators China Telecom and China Netcom, has been testing TD-SCDMA in Xiamen, Baoding, Qingdao, Beijing and Shanghai.


Ericsson "is apparently seeking to play a role" in the next round of tests, the source said.


Unlike WCDMA and CDMA 2000, TD-SCDMA has yet to be put into commercial deployment and has lacked industry-wide support, especially from Western manufacturers.


But a slew of foreign vendors have joined the TD-SCDMA camp due to the Chinese government's increasing support of the home-grown standard. Government officials said they hoped the standard would hold a third of China's 3G market.


Many have chosen to get a leg up by forming joint ventures with local vendors. Siemens is partnering with Huawei, Alcatel with Datang, and Nokia with Potevio, previously known as Putian.


In May 2005, Ericsson formed a strategic alliance with China's No 2 telecom equipment maker ZTE to jointly develop TD-SCDMA. But the alliance was largely based on an OEM (original equipment manufacturing) relationship.


"In fact, Ericsson has adopted a 'wait-and-see' attitude toward TD-SCDMA," the industry source said.


Carl-Henric Svanberg, president and chief executive officer of Ericsson, earlier said that TD-SCDMA may not be able to grab a large market share.


Ericsson's increasing willingness to develop TD-SCDMA underscores a growing possibility that China Mobile could operate 3G networks based on TD-SCDMA.


(China Daily January 31, 2007)


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