China begins 3G commercialisation

Leading Chinese operator China Mobile is now 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.

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 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.

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.

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