Tapping into the mainland telecoms sector, even in the established area of equipment sales, continues to be an unpredictable business. Korea's Samsung Electronics is eager to sell wireless local loop (WLL) technology but continues to wait for the green light for even a trial network, in this case in Chengdu, Sichuan province. The company admits it has no idea when the project might open for tender. That is despite a year-long wait and the creation of a dedicated Shanghai joint venture to sell its code division multiple access (CDMA)-based WLL system in the mainland, Lee Sung-kyu, Samsung managing director of wireless research and development, said. Several foreign equipment vendors are running trials across the country. Analysts believe Beijing may be stalling the approval of further foreign participation in WLL trials because it is developing its own digital WLL standard. Beijing said in January trials of its own self-developed synchronous-CDMA system in seven cities, including Chengdu, had concluded satisfactorily and that full commercial S-CDMA production would begin this year. Mr Lee said there were many technical considerations for mainland authorities to consider before they could decide on a standard. 'They have to decide on broad-band or narrow-band CDMA for WLL, or another system altogether,' he said. Samsung said that it had developed dual-CDMA/WLL technology, in which the same handset can be used both at home and away from the local station on two separate networks. Last May, a joint venture between Phoenix Wireless Group and World Communication Group began a 1,000 user trial of an analog-based WLL network in a 2,072 square kilometre Chengdu suburb. Mr Lee said there were considerable time and cost efficiencies to WLL networks in the mainland. Technical difficulties aside, the big problem remains cost. The economics of installing lines in the mainland are such that costs need to be well below other countries to make deployment worthwhile. Manufacturers are having trouble getting the cost of WLL down to level at which Beijing will sanction a fuller build-out. This is thought at least to be below US$500 per line. In the rest of the world $1,000 per line would still probably be considered cheap.