China Further Delays 3G Spectrum Auctions

Are you keeping track? If so, you may soon run out of fingers on which to count the ridiculous succession of delays for China’s 3G spectrum auctions. There is a lot of “nice talk” about why this may be, but the frank and simple reason is that the government wants to bias the process in favor of TD-SCDMA, but they can’t do that until the darned technology works – yet year after year, it doesn’t. TD-SCDMA is being developed by the Chinese Academy of Telecommunications Technology (CATT). It’s one thing to try to stimulate the local economy, buy China’s 4 year delay of 3G is stifling progress for the sake of playing favorites. Chinese operators would rather get 3G going with the functional variants of 3G (mainly EV-DO and UMTS) but the autocratic government is still pursuing their fading dream of a local 3G solution that can run with the pack. China will hold the auction only when TD-SCDMA is truly viable, and will likely require auction winners to use the home-brew. Does China really benefit by being years behind the RoW? How late are these auctions? Well, in 2003, Unstrung revealed the disappointing news that auctions had been delayed again. Three years later, nothing’s changed. Or for a full chronology of delays, just look at Techdirt’s ongoing coverage starting in 2002. PS: Don’t Google for this post if you live in China.

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