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China to fall short in Olympic 3G mobile bid

Despite China’s promise to have a 3G phone network in place by the time of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a bluster-filled announcement made yesterday only served to underline that commercial services will not be ready in time.

The National Development and Reform Commission used a telecoms expo to attempt to reassure doubters by saying that a 3G network using the home-grown TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) standard would be up and running during the Olympics after all.

However, the fact that the network will simply be a trial designed to showcase TD-SCDMA and that there are still no plans to issue essential 3G spectrum licenses to commercial operators merely underlines that the so-called ‘high-tech’ Olympics are looking decidedly old fashioned.

The deployment of TD-SCDMA has been delayed by technical uncertainties and bureaucratic hold-ups, meaning that there is still a slim possibility that China will eat humble pie for the duration of the games and offer a limited 3G service based on US or European standards, such as CDMA 2000 and W-CDMA.

(Crossposted to Tech.co.uk)

09:35 AM JMLH • Permalink
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