According to China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Li Yizhong (seen in our illustration), China Mobile, is expected to have up to 80 million 3G subscribers within the next two years.
This is a tough call because China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator in terms of number of subscribers, must use China’s own TD-SCDMA standard. You could say it was lumbered with it as it is not, as yet, up to the older and more developed standards.
Plainly China Mobile understands this because the 80 million is lower than the earlier number of 100 million subscribers, which was claimed by Lu Dongfeng, vice-president of Datang Telecom Technology, a provider of TD-SCDMA products. Mark you, in that position you would have to say that.
Lou Qinjian, vice-minister of industry and information technology, earlier told the China Daily news agency that TD-SCDMA subscribers in China are expected to reach 10 million by the end of this year.
InfoMobile reported for the record, that China Mobile plans to spend around $8.6 billion during 2009 on rolling out its 3G network, deploying some 60,000 base stations in 238 cities in the process.
What it comes down to is the handset and thinking well outside the box. If someone, anyone, comes up with a TD-SCDMA handset which is a generation ahead of the Apple iPhone — and it could happen — then the game changes dramatically. It was hoped that Dell would do this, but its new phone does not inspire any confidence.