Chinese People and Their Mobile Phones: China starts 3G commercial trials in 8 cities
The parent of China Mobile (0941.HK: Quote, Profile, Research), the country’s top wireless operator, have started commercial trials of a homegrown third-generation wireless standard, TD-SCDMA, in eight cities on April 1, state media said recently. Shares in several Hong Kong-listed equipment vendors, including China Communications Services Corp Ltd (0552.HK: Quote, Profile, Research) and China Wireless Technologies Ltd (2369.HK: Quote, Profile, Research), rose on Friday, as investors anticipate heavy spending on telecoms gear.
The eight cities chosen for the trials are Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Qinhuangdao.
Five of the eight cities are hosting events for the Beijing Olympics in August. China has promised to provide 3G mobile phone services in time for the Games.
The service features high-speed data transmissions that can allow users to watch videos, play 3D games, and conduct video conferences.
China Mobile would provide 20,000 users with handsets worth 2,000 yuan (282 U.S. dollars) to 4,000 yuan each and data cards free of charge for the trial use, it said. A monthly subsidy of 800 yuan would also be offered to each user.
The first batch of 3G handsets were made by six producers, including China’s Lenovo, Hisense, ZTE and New Postcom, and South Korea’s Samsung and LG, it said.
A company spokesman said the trial service would have nothing to do with the issue of 3G licenses. He did not disclose how long the trial service would last or whether it would be extended to other cities.
The next move will be taken depending on the test results of the trial,” he said.
The company says its TD-SCDMA network could accommodate 8 million users.
China had 565 million mobile phone users by the end of last month, about 43 percent of the population.
The International Telecommunication Union recognized TD-SCDMA as one of the world’s three official 3G standards in 2000. The other two are Europe’s WCDMA and North America’s CDMA 2000.
The Chinese government last year approved the use of the European and American standards in China.
Some western governments and companies have accused China of delaying the issue of 3G licenses to allow its indigenous standard to mature enough to compete with foreign rivals.
But Xi Guohua, Vice-Minister of Chinese Information Industry Ministry said last year that the government would give equal status to WCDMA and CDMA 2000 despite its support for the domestic standard.