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China doubles DIY 3G bounty

TD-SCDMA needs boost - report

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The People's Republic of China is to invest another 1.4 billion yuan in its homegrown, royalty-skipping 3G technology, TD-SCDMA this week. That's around $170 million, double the amount the MST, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, invested in August.

China doesn't apportion the 3G licenses until the end of the year at the earliest, but is keen to see its own technology prosper. TC-SCDMA has been developed by Datung in conjunction with Siemens, and the PRC wants to stimulate indigenous manufacturers. But even more strategically, China doesn't want to depend on foreign IP. With Qualcomm holding 60 per cent of the patent portfolio and Nokia and Ericsson most of the rest, occidental 3G doesn't come cheap. The move parallels its work in developing its own microprocessor, Godson, and investments in Red Flag Linux.

The government has already allocated two blocks of 55MHz bandwidth for TD-SCDMA, and the first, very limited trials have already begun.

As Siemens' Peter Borger positioned TD-SCDMA as complementary to WCDMA and CDMA2000 last week, the results of the first technical phase of 3G evaluation were being published.

The testers found that WCDMA has come along in leaps and bounds since the summer of 2001, although compatibility is an issue and 2G/3G roaming was considered "instable and immature". Testers reported that CDMA2000 terminals had "limited categories and didn't operate stably during test." And while TD-SCDMA equipment passed the basics, development needs to be speeded up, the report concluded. (More detail here).

Most intriguing is the enthusiasm for exporting the technology. Japan has similar urban densities to China, and has much to gain from a "complementary" technology. ®

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