Homegrown standard given head start over foreign rivals China is curbing the development of new trial W-CDMA networks before the issue of the country's first 3G mobile-phone licences, a mainland newspaper has reported. The Ministry of Information Industry has verbally ordered the suspension of construction of the new networks, the Shanghai Securities News reported at the weekend, quoting an unnamed China Mobile official. Beijing last month endorsed the homegrown TD-CDMA platform - developed jointly by a few domestic telecommunications equipment vendors - as a national 3G mobile-phone standard, giving it a head start over rival international standards W-CDMA and CDMA2000. The first TD-SCDMA licence is expected to be handed out soon to a dominant domestic player such as China Telecom. Howeverl, analysts still expect the two rival standards would also be licensed to Chinese operators as early as May. Meanwhile, W-CDMA trial networks have proliferated in leading Chinese cities with equipment provided free by foreign manufacturers such as Nokia, Ericsson and Lucent Technologies as well as domestic producers such as ZTE and Huawei Technologies, in an attempt to secure future business. The ministry's moratorium on new W-CDMA trial networks came after several of the existing networks matured beyond the trial stage, some to the extent of being ready for commercial application, the China Mobile official said. 'Attempts to build trial networks that could readily be used commercially before the first 3G licences certainly smack of trying to disrupt the ministry's MII's 3G strategic plan,' he added. A spokesman for the ministry declined to comment when contacted. No formal written order had been issued, the report said. It also disputed an early report by Guangzhou Daily that the National Development and Reform Commission, in conjunction with the ministry, had ordered operators to dismantle existing illegal networks.