Mobile-telephone maker Nokia will produce handsets for all three 3G mobile technologies offered on the mainland, including the homegrown TD-SCDMA standard, according to its vice-president of Greater China sales, David Tang. The commitment would maintain the brand's position as a market leader after the mainland's 3G service kicked off next year, Mr Tang said. Mainland mobile-telephone users will be spoilt for choice next year when China Mobile rolls out the homegrown 3G wireless service in 38 cities, fixed-line telecommunications player China Telecom provide a US-based CDMA mobile service and China Unicom offers a European-based WCDMA service. Beijing's strong support for the homegrown TD-SCDMA standard in the run-up to the new 3G service gave local vendors such as ZTE a head start in providing TD-SCDMA handsets. The technology was launched for commercial trials in April and ZTE, along with two Korean and several smaller local vendors, was able to introduce the first of its TD-SCDMA mobile telephones into the market. 'Nokia supports the development of TD-SCDMA. We will have the handsets in the market when the service becomes active,' said Mr Tang in an interview at Nokia's Green Campus headquarters in Beijing. 'We will provide a rich experience to users and we are confident that our TD-SCDMA products will be well-received by our customers.' Nokia has to date lagged its rivals in developing TD-SCDMA handsets but Mr Tang said was optimistic that the company could catch up with competitors. 'We are the biggest partner of China Mobile and we will work together closely to meet the requirements for the new 3G service,' he said. 'Based on the lion's share we have in the GSM mobile-telephone market, we are now also the biggest 3G mobile-telephone vendor using the WCDMA standard. 'We also provide CDMA handsets in the United States market and together with the new TD-SCDMA handsets now under development, we are sure that we can maintain our leadership position as the world's largest telephone maker.' But some analysts forecast tough challenges lie ahead. 'Nokia may take 12 to 18 months to catch up with the local [producers of] TD-SCDMA handsets, since ZTE and Huawei have already launched products that could eat up its share immediately,' said Frederick Wong, a BNP Paribas technology analyst. Nokia last year sold 70.7 million mobile telephones in the mainland market, an increase of 38 per cent over the previous year, to secure a 42.3 per cent market share. Samsung was ranked second with a 19.6 per cent share. Mr Tang sees the mainland rural market as a potential growth engine for the industry because of present low penetration rates of mobile telephones. 'We are the closest of China Mobile's partners in exploring the rural market, as we have launched several entry-level handsets targeting users in the areas,' he said.