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ZTE unveils dual mode TD-SCDMA/GSM handset

Chinese manufacturer ZTE has taken the wraps off what it claims to be the world’s first TD-SCDMA/GSM dual mode handset.

TD-SCDMA is China’s homegrown 3G standard and is widely expected to be deployed by at least one operator when the country issues 3G licenses.

The ZTE U350 not only allow users to make calls across both TD-SCDMA and GSM networks, but is also one of the few dual stand-by handsets available. The dual stand-by capability means users can put a call on hold in one mode and take a separate call on the other mode, and then switch between GSM and TD-SCDMA modes.

In recent weeks, Chinese companies engaged in the development of TD-SCDMA technology have encouraged Beijing to speed up the issuance of 3G licenses, as the home grown offering approaches market readiness.

The TD-SCDMA Alliance expects trials of the technology to be completed in the third quarter, although testing of the technology on live networks in five cities in the country has revealed teething problems.

Proponents of the technology claim that these wrinkles would quickly be ironed out if TD-SCDMA was released into the market.

The Chinese Ministry of Information and Industry has yet to announce a specific 3G licensing schedule and has yet to choose which operators will receive licenses.

However, it is widely expected that the government will issue 3G licenses this year with a view to providing service for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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