Beijing has completed the testing of the TD-SCDMA standard on the mobile phone network, edging closer to the commercial launch of the homegrown technology, industry insiders said.
The field tests were carried out in 10 major cities, involving only employees of the telecommunications companies and professional users, said one source. The central government wants to showcase the TD-SCDMA standard during the Beijing Olympics.
A successful trial would pave the way for the issuance of 3G licences.
'The network testing phase has finished. It is now the optimisation phase,' said the source. 'In a few months, trials involving citizens will be launched. After that, TD-SCDMA will be commercially launched.' China Mobile, the nation's largest mobile operator, has spent about 25 billion yuan on building a TD-SCDMA trial network in eight cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Qinhuangdao, Xiamen, Tianjin and Shenyang.
China Telecom and China Netcom, the major fixed-line operators, are in charge of the trial networks in Baoding and Qingdao, respectively. However, detailed plans and schedules of TD-SCDMA services have not been finalised.
TD-SCDMA or Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access technology is the first technology for which Beijing owns the core intellectual property rights since its adoption as one of the global 3G standards in 2001.
Success with the technology would give the country a major boost in emerging as a leading player in the global telecommunications market, which is now dominated by Europe and the United States.
The government also aims to establish a complete TD-SCDMA value chain, from network equipment manufacturing to network chipset design and handsets, which will spare the nation the huge royalties for the patented technologies of mobile standards owned by foreign firms such as Nokia and Qualcomm.