[photopress:youxiaohu.jpg,full,alignright]China is going to effectively ignore the 3G standard for mobile phones and go to 4G. However, it is not yet available except to a group of 10 ‘leading domestic institutions’called the ‘FuTURE Project’.
In theory it will allow data transmission at up to 100 megabutes per second — think fiber optic speeds — several times faster than current technology. Some RMB150 million ($19.3 million) were spent in developing the technology.
There are two factors which are, perhaps, of vital importance and are being skipped or only touched on lightly in stories in the international press about this move by China to 4G leaping deftly over 3G.
The first is that it will not be in commercial until 2010. It will not be available for the Olympic Games, 2008, but it will be available for the Expo in Shanghai in 2010.
The second is that most of the mobile phones in the world are made in China. How many? Certainly over 90%. Probably over 95%.
You Xiaohu, a leading expert with a world wide reputation who is closely involved in the program, said that the tests have proved one thing: ‘It testifies that the technology we’ve developed is feasible and brings us one step closer to put it into commercial use. . . .The Shanghai system shows that we have entered the final phase of our project.’
You Xiaohu is also the principal of the FuTURE Project’s expert panel. It has obtained more than 200 patents and some of its core technologies have been adopted by international standards organizations, positioning China as one of the world’s front-runners in 4G technologies.
Wang Xudong, minister of information industry, told reporters at the ITU Telecom World 2006 last month that China would award domestic telecom operators licences to build 3G mobile phone networks ‘very soon’. But why would you set up your network for 3G when you know that 4G exists and that 4G is from China, for China and will be available within, say, two to three years?
One thing is certain. China has shown that it can develop its own systems, patent it own inventions, bring out its own technical innovations which jump neatly over the competition.
If China makes most of the world’s mobile phones and if China is moving to 4G then how long will it be before we are all living in a 4G world?
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