"Final" Trial Set For Chinese 3G Standard

Chinese authorities have time and time again proven they’re in no hurry to issue 3G licenses, waiting to give the homegrown TD-SCDMA standard time to catch up to other 3G technologies already implemented elsewhere in the world. But the government wants the networks up and running in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so time is getting short — now China is preparing for the final six-month trial of TD-SCDMA that will focus on applications development and testing. One of the reasons given for the long delay in issuing 3G licenses is that the Chinese government wanted to complete its “restructuring” of the telecoms market there, and the belief is now that GSM carrier China Mobile (the country’s largest mobile operator) will be left alone, while China Unicom will be broken up, its GSM network going to fixed carrier China Telecom and its CDMA network being merged with that of another fixed carrier, China Netcom. China Telecom’s trade-off for being able to buy Unicom’s GSM network — and its 92 million users — will likely be that it will have to use TD-SCDMA for 3G, with China Mobile and Unicom using WCDMA and CDMA2000 EV-DO, respectively.

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