Business As Usual For Chinese 3G

Within the mobile industry, the phrase “when China launches 3G” could be substituted for “when hell freezes over”. Since 2002, the Chinese government has been talking about rolling out 3G, but the “process” has basically boiled down to it killing time while its homegrown 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, could be brought up to scratch with international standards already in use. Writing the same story about license delays got pretty old, so we basically starting ignoring them, but things seemed to be picking up lately as the government used the big ITU Telecom World event in Hong Kong as a stage to hype things up, and finally this week said TD-SCDMA was finally ready and it had passed its trials. Of course, we’d heard that before, so it was hardly surprising to read today about a government minister saying TD-SCDMA trials need to continue to “ensure a steady start of the 3G services in 2007”. So is TD-SCDMA actually ready? Who knows. More importantly, is it any good? Again, nobody really knows. One thing is clear, though: the doublespeak and mixed messages from the Chinese government about 3G is far from over.

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