Nokia had the mobile phone game by the throat, which is amazing for a Finnish company that once made rubber boots and ice-breakers.
Its massive lead has been slashed by Apple with its iPhone, which has led to a flood of smart phones. Talk to a Nokia employee and they look wise and say they have something up their sleeve. Mostly the bet would be it is an arm and little else.
But now Nokia has announced the Nokia 6788, its first device for TD-SCDMA — China’s domestic 3G standard. This is tricky. The standard was foisted on China Mobile. China was going to have its own standard — as well as the others — so the big boy on the team had to take care of it.
The result is the Nokia 6788, the result of close collaboration between Nokia and China Mobile.
China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile operator and has passed the 500 million subscriber milepost. But the operator is behind its competitors, China Unicom and China Telecom, in establishing 3G services, because the government wants it to use TD-SCDMA.
The government wants to see largely home grown technology succeed, which it will but it still has some bugs, some rough edges.
In the upcoming number portability plan, those customers that switch away from TD-SCDMA services will not be able to take their phone numbers to their new service providers. This will offer some protection for China Mobile. Traditionally the largest operators suffer most customer losses when number portability become available.
Mobile Monday said, in a flight of PR inspired fancy, that the Nokia 6788 incorporates Chinese design elements including traditional Chinese patterns on the back of the slide and the battery cover. The Nokia 6788 is expected to become available at the end of December 2009.
For the record TD-SCDMA (time division synchronous code division multiple access) is a 3G mobile telephone standard developed by the China Academy of Telecommunications Technology (CATT).