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China begins 3G commercialisation

Leading Chinese operator, China Mobile, is understood to be in the process of building out a commercial TD-SCDMA 3G network in five major Chinese cities as a prelude to a nationwide roll out, according to Telecoms.com’s sister publication, Global Mobile.

The operator is expected to begin offering commercial GSM-TD-SCDMA services via dual mode handsets in the second half of the year.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government unofficially awarded China Mobile a license to build out a nationwide 3G network based on the home grown TD-SCDMA standard.

Chinese vendor ZTE is understood to have been awarded the initial contract to build-out TD-SCDMA networks in the five cities. China Mobile is also expected to award local vendor Datang contracts for TD-SCDMA as well.

According to Ovum analyst Charice Wang, the first trials are “going very well” and final details will be scrutinised by a Chinese government eager to see its home grown standard performing as intended. Wang says China Mobile was not simply picked to build out the network, rather it was handed the responsibility for making it work. “It was picked because it is the leading operator and has enough capital to roll out a 3G network.”

The government is expected to begin second round TD-SCDMA testing in six additional cities in March, with China Telecom and China Netcom already involved in smaller scale TD-SCDMA tests.

The fixed line operators are expected to become 3G mobile service providers as part of a major restructuring in the Chinese mobile industry. It is not known whether China Mobile will be awarded a license for WCDMA services, although it is the country’s leading GSM operator.

Global Mobile is a sister publication of telecoms.com

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