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Thursday, April 12, 2001, updated at 08:25(GMT+8)

China's 3G Mobile Technology Debuts

China's domestically developed and patented third generation (3G) mobile telecoms technology was tested for the first time by the public in Beijing yesterday.

The successful first call of the mobile technology significantly sharpened the country's competitive edge on the international telecoms market.

TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), one of the three 3G mobile telecoms technologies, was raised by the Chinese Academy of Telecommunications Technology (CATT).

The two other 3G systems, WCDMA and CDMA2000, were raised by European and US companies respectively.

Datang Telecoms, a subsidiary of the CATT, and its German partner Siemens, invested billions of yuan in the research and development of the system.

The question that now faces Chinese mobile operators is which 3G technology they will adopt.

China has become the world's second largest mobile telecoms market, with 85 million users at the end of 2000, according to statistics from the Ministry of Information Industry (MII).

The market will keep on expanding, as the number of users is expected to reach 1.2 billion this year.

Given the huge market, the operators are naturally concerned as to which 3G technology is to be chosen, as there are huge potential profits involved.

China's TD-SCDMA is the youngest of the three systems, with a history of only two years. Some telecoms companies therefore said it was immature.

"None of the three systems could be called fully mature. Our country has not yet developed its own technology to make 3G phones,'' said Li Shihe, senior researcher with the CATT.

He expected the 3G mobile phone that support the TD-SCDMA will make debut next year.

Li, also known as the "father of TD-SCDMA,'' said the technology will be fully mature within two years.

He said TD-SCDMA would allow for a smooth transition from the present GSM (global system for mobile communications) to 3G technology and would fully utilize GSM equipment, which supports more than 99 per cent of China's 85 million mobile phone users at present.

Siemens, Datang's German partner in the 3G communications field, said it is confident in TD-SCDMA and will further increase investment in the project.

The Chinese Government is still considering which 3G system it will adopt. The decision will not be made before 2002, according to the MII.

TD-SCDMA, the only domestically invented system, is likely to be adopted, but it is not yet sure to what degree it will be used, said Yu Xiangguo, senior vice-president of Siemens China.

A TD-SCDMA forum to back the development of the system was held in Beijing at the end of last year.

All the major domestic and international telecoms equipment manufacturers took part in the forum and showed their support of the new technology.

Source: China Daily

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China's domestically developed and patented third generation (3G) mobile telecoms technology was tested for the first time by the public in Beijing yesterday.

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