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China takes own path to 3G

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China will follow its own standards for next generation phone networks. The Ministry of Information Industry (MII) released specifications for TD-SCDMA for 3G mobile networks on Friday.

The technology has been tested since 2001 but has suffered problems along the way - in November it failed a five month government trial against rival European WCDMA and US CDMA2000 standards.

But now: "The technology is already mature and ready for manufacturers to move ahead with production." - according to government news service Xinhuanet.

The decision means China can avoid paying large amounts in royalties for 3G technology and opens the way for an auction of Chinese mobile licenses. An official told the People's Daily that Chinese firms were paying 15 to 20 per cent in royalties when they make and sell WCDMA equipment while profit margins were only five per cent. Datang Telecom owns most of the patents for the new standard.

According to figures released by the MII last week another 58.6m people signed up for mobile phones in China in 2005 bringing total subscribers up to 393.4m. There are 350.43m fixed line subscribers and 37.5m broadband internet subscribers.

More from Xinhuanet here. and People's Daily here.®

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