US accuses China over 3G

America’s Commerce Secretary has publicly criticised China for its 3G strategy, accusing the country of stifling innovation by snubbing global standards.

Carlos M. Gutierrez on Tuesday slammed China’s chosen route on 3G in what he termed “pockets of standards” which he claimed harmed the prospects for innovation. In particular, he referred to the continuing wait for 3G licences in China which have been held up while the country’s home-grown 3G standard matures.

Although a large-scale test network is being built and will be used commercially during the Olympic Games, there is still uncertainty about the 3G licence process. It is understood that at least one national licensee will be obliged to use TD-SCDMA, China’s own variation on the 3G standard. Whether any of the others will be permitted to use UMTS, CDMA 1xEV-DO, has been left unanswered. reported from ITU Telecom World in Hong Kong, in December, that China Mobile executives were far from keen on TD-SCDMA but were being forced to deploy it by China’s Ministry of the Information Industry.

That, in turn, means other vendors have reasonable hopes of getting their share of a truly gigantic payday. One of the American companies whose interests Gutierrez is pledged to defend, is already certain of that – Analog Devices Inc. produces the only TD-SCDMA chipsets on the market. It can be certain of making a killing as China Mobile builds-out the system and then needs to buy several million handsets.

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