China Telecom keeps them guessing on 3G
To choose WCDMA (Wideband CDMA) or TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), that is the question for China Telecom in carrying out its third generation (3G) of mobile telecommunications business.
However, according to a recent report by Zhongxing Telecommunications (ZTE), one of the country's leading telecommunication equipment manufacturers, China Telecom favours WCDMA as its 3G standard when securing a 3G licence.
The conclusion overturned analysts predictions that as the country's largest fixed line operator, China Telecom will adopt TD-SCDMA.
The home grown standard developed by Datang Mobile Communications Equipment Co Ltd is a potential rival to Europe's WCDMA and the CDMA2000 standard produced by US-based Qualcomm Corp.
"China Telecom tends to adopt European WCDMA," said the report entitled "Management and Development of China Telecom in 2003."
"China Telecom's high-ranking officials hope to get the mobile licence as soon as possible and adopt WCDMA as its major standard for 3G mobile telecommunications," it said.
According to the report, China Telecom is scheduled to build up a trial commercial 3G network, mainly based on WCDMA technology, in seven cities including Shanghai, and cities in Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
Meanwhile, it will be stepping up its efforts to synchronize its fixed line business with 3G.
Analysts expect the Ministry of Information Industry to grant 3G mobile licences late this year or in 2004.
Fixed-line operators, China Telecom and China Netcom, are expected to receive licences, along with China Mobile and China Unicom.
Analysts believe that China will consider both domestic and international standards when it issues 3G licences.
China Unicom, which has built a current generation CDMA network together with its GSM (global system for mobile telecommunications) system, is expected to choose Qualcomm's CDMA2000.
Last Wednesday, Tang Ru'an, chief operating officer of China Datang Mobile Communications Equipment Co Ltd, said in an interview that China Mobile would probably adopt European technology.
"As the world's biggest GSM mobile phone carrier, I think it is technically logical and easier for it to choose WCDMA," he said.
Some analysts said that China would require at least one of its two big fixed-line carriers to adopt the home grown TD-SCDMA.
It was wildly speculated that China Telecom will adopt TD-SCDMA as its 3G standard, or use TD-SCDMA in conjunction with WCDMA.
Lu Tingjie, member of the 3G Development Committee of Experts under the State Information Working Office, said in spite of the various possibilities, a final decision has yet to be made by the regulators.
"The most likely scenario is China Telecom will choose both WCDMA and TD-SCDMA standards,".