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EU frets over China's 3G plan

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Now it's the European Union's turn to worry about China's go-it-alone strategy for 3G. The Chinese have co-developed a third specification called TD-SCDMA, and are indicating their preference to use it instead of WCDMA(UMTS) or Qualcomm's technology.

In this report the deputy head of the EU's mission in Beijing advises the PRC not to go it alone. The Chinese reckon that TD-SCDMA, which was co-developed with Siemens, will stimulate domestic manufacturers. It's reckoned to be an easier upgrade to the GSM networks that most Chinese use now to make 2G calls: the industry forum reckons it's 30 per cent cheaper than WCDMA. And it also has a nice side-effect too: they don't have to pay royalties.

Last week China indicated it didn't think it owed Qualcomm anything for CDMA, even though the San Diego company which pioneered the technology holds about 40 per cent of CDMA patents. (See China shuns Qualcomm - no CDMA tax!).

But as we noted in that story, the move was equally a snub to the GSM consortium. Jessen is quoted as saying that a third standard would lead to fragmentation, although it's already fragmented by having two.

Datung, the Chinese company responsible for co-developing TD-SCDMA said today it was looking for $100 million worth of capital to finance further development.

But the far-sighted Chinese are already thinking ahead.

In a report on the TD-SCDMA Forum's website, entitled " China and EU develop 4G together", we learn that "China hope to devote to R&D work during the initial stages of a new technology so as to own core IPR and contribute to international standardization organization."

The phrase "own core IPR" will be read with as much interest in Stockholm and Tampere as it will be in San Diego. ®

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