China’s state council said it has approved licenses for higher-speed 3G mobile networks, a move expected to help bring higher-end services to phone users in the country. Important that no exact official date has been declared.
This is a major step forward but it is not, as has been generally reported, the automatic start of the 3G mobile network in China this month. For that we need wait for another announcement which should be, say, before the end of January.
China Mobile is set to receive approval for a network using TD-SCDMA technology, a standard backed by Beijing.
China Unicom will geta WCDMA license.
China Telecom will get a CDMA 2000 license.
WCDMA and CDMA 2000 standards are mature and globally accepted but come with quite steep royalties the Chinese government has sought to avoid.
The Chinese Ministry of Industry of Information, which expects Chinese telecommunications companies to spend about $41 billion on the next-generation phone equipment, has said the licenses are due to be issued by early 2009.
Which you can, if you like, interpret as meaning 3G will start in January or, perhaps, that it will happen before June 30. Understand there is no suggestion that the systems are ready to go. We are talking about permissions and network building her.
The mobile operators, though, may not be ready just yet to launch their 3G services.
China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou said the acceptance of TD-SCDMA among consumers is still limited. The Beijing Times quoted Wang Jianzhou as saying more than 40% of complaints from trial customers concern the quality of phones available, and also on call handover when a user moves out of a 3G coverage area into a 2G zone.
And to make matters worse, according to Wang Jianzhou the frequency of technical glitches on the core network equipment is still high.
Thus it would be wrong to read the announcement of approval of 3G as being an indication it will be immediately available. When it is up and running it will be the time to run headlines which say: ‘China gets 3G.’ China will get 3G. It has not got it yet.
Source: CNET News and The Standard
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