In a blow to the prospects of China's home-grown 3G mobile phone standard, the country's largest mobile phone company confirmed recently that it would prefer to use foreign developed technology.
Wang Xiaochu, chief executive at China Mobile, told UBS analysts that his company is more likely to use the internationally-recognised WCDMA than China's own TD-SCDMA standard, according to the Hong Kong Standard and other sources.
State-owned China Mobile is the country's (and the world's) largest mobile phone operator, with over 220 million subscribers, roughly half the local market, according to recent press reports.
WCDMA was developed in the late 1990s by NTT in Japan, and allows a maximum data rate of at least 384Kbps. It already has over 40 million users worldwide. WCDMA network operators must pay a licence fee to use the standard.
China's TC-SCDMA was developed locally with assistance from foreign firms. It is being promoted by the government as its 'industry standard' for 3G services, and was formally announced earlier this month.
The development of the home grown standard is part of a drive to reduce China's reliance on foreign-owned technology as the country moves to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights.
China's telecoms authorities are expected to allocate three licences to operate 3G networks later this year.
Local research firm Analysys predicts that the first licensee will be a TD-SCDMA operator.
"TD-SCDMA has weak market foundation. Without the government's macro control, the market selection of 3G would inevitably be WCDMA and CDMA2000," the firm commented last week.
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