A mainland technology designed to make mobile-phone data transfers more efficient should take off worldwide and handset-makers should adopt it, according to government authorities and telecommunications leaders. They consider TD-SCDMA (time division synchronous code division multiple access) an internationally approved standard for the third generation of mobile technology. Invented three years ago by Beijing-based Datang Telecom and perfected by Siemens, it is due to start rivalling the older and commonly used mainland GSM technology by the end of next year. In the mainland, it competes with Wideband CDMA and CDMA 2000, two similar technologies from overseas. Chinese officials hope it saturates the home market and spreads abroad. But first, they need mobile-phone makers such as Motorola and Ericsson to buy into it. 'China has the ability to be No 1,' Feng Jichun, a senior official with the Ministry of Science and Technology, said at a conference this week that drew 400 researchers, policy-makers and handset developers in Beijing. 'I hope all experts and all the world will join in the effort so we can remain in the mainstream of technology in the world.' TD-SCDMA uses an old radar technology for connections that favour mobile-phone downloads over uploads. Phone-users are expected to download much more than they upload in Internet files, fax es, e-mail and multimedia data. About 120 million people use mobile phones, and many send short-text messages. The new standard, because of its bandwidth, should be able to handle China's urban mobile hot spots part icularly well, a job GSM sometimes cannot do. However, TD-SCDMA requires consumers to buy special handsets, whereas competing technology does not. China's brand also could not serve rural areas well without many new base stations, an industry researcher said. Zhou Huan, president of Datang Telecom, said that because his company had partners outside China, he expected TD-SCDMA to take off in other countries. A Siemens representative who demonstrated the new standard at the conference said it should have a good chance of competing with related technology from Europe, Japan, South Korea and the United States. He said European handset-makers planned to use it. The introduction of TD-SCDMA also should open up roaming services in China, sparking welcome competition among mobile service providers, said Han Xia, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Information Industry. At present, only China Mobile and China Unicom offer mobile services. Officials from China Mobile, which has most of the market, and China Unicom spoke at a conference panel to endorse the new technology.