Telecoms chief sticks to homegrown standard

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 October, 2007, 12:00am

The mainland's telecommunications regulator has reiterated its support for the homegrown TD-SCDMA technology for the third-generation mobile-phone service after an international industry group picked a US-developed technology as one of the four international standards last week.

However, ABN Amro suggested the mainland cut investment in TD-SCDMA technology and move directly to the next generation.

'TD-SCDMA is one of the mainstream 3G standards developed by China. Handsets, chipsets and network systems are available gradually,' Zhang Xinsheng, deputy director general at the Ministry of Information Industry, said in an industry conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

'Our research capability is still lagging behind other developed economies, so we need to focus on developing our own technology,' Mr Zhang said.

The International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency, last week announced that the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), developed by US-based companies such as Intel and Motorola, would be a 3G mobile standard.

Industry watchers said WiMAX might compete with TD-SCDMA because they shared the same frequency band.

'WiMAX may win over TD-SCDMA as it is supported by leading technology firms in the US like Intel,' an industry source said. 'The Chinese government has no choice but to wait for TD-SCDMA to mature to avoid wasting its investment.'

Wong Chi-man, an analyst at China Everbright Securities, said: 'The Chinese government won't show strong support for WiMAX as it needs to protect the homegrown standard.'

Commercial trials on the TD-SCDMA-based mobile service by China Mobile, China Telecom and China Netcom are expected by the year's end in 10 cities.

'It makes sense for China to go directly to launch the 4G (next generation of mobile service), as there is no such business case for 3G in China,' said Wendy Liu, head of China research at ABN Amro.

She said the strong data capability of WiMAX might make it a strong rival against TD-SCDMA.

'It will be an interesting development in the next six to nine months in China,' Ms Liu said.



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