China Calling With Cell-Phone Standard

Yet another discussion about China’s own 3G standard, TD-SCDMA. The article refers to it as being “homegrown” in China, which is a bit misleading, since it was originally developed by Siemens in Germany and a lot of the current work is being done by Philips. However, some are worried about what this third 3G standard could mean for the wireless equipment market. They’re worried that this will make it easier for Chinese suppliers to undercut non-Chinese suppliers – and also wonder if the standard will end up spreading beyond China. At this point, it seems a little early to speculate on such things. Everyone seems to admit that TD-SCDMA just isn’t that good yet, and even the big Chinese wireless carriers have talked about how they’ll support competing W-CDMA and CDMA2000 standards. One interesting point in the article that I hadn’t seen discussed elsewhere was the issue of whether or not Qualcomm has any intellectual property rights over TD-SCDMA. Qualcomm seems to think so, and claims that anyone using TD-SCDMA will have to pay licensing fees. China says that’s not true – which can only mean a legal battle is likely in the relatively near future.

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