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Ericsson CEO says China 3G rollout will be 2005

Posted: 18 Jun 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ericsson? 3g mobile? td-scdma? wideband cdma?

The chief executive of Ericsson said it's anybody's guess when licenses for 3G mobile services will be awarded in China, and he discounted the ability of the nation's indigenous standard to compete.

"It's clear that TD-SCDMA will play an important role in China, but that will be a complementary role to wideband CDMA when that roles out," said Carl-Henric Svanberg, president and CEO of Ericsson, who spoke at the CommunicAsia, the region's largest telecom show here.

Svanberg said he thought licenses for 3G would be issued this year, but now sees that happening in 2005. The main hurdle for adoption is with operators who have yet to develop a menu of high-bandwidth services and an acceptable fee regime that would ensure profitability, said Mats Olsson, president of Ericsson China.

China is the world's largest cellphone market with an average of as many as 5 million new subscribers each month. The total market hit 290 million subscribers in April, according to Ericsson.

Although Sony-Ericsson does not have a strong mobile presence in China, Ericsson is among the top network equipment providers there. China is Ericsson's second largest market, representing 9 percent of its global net sales in the first quarter. Ericsson is also a major player in other regional markets, ranging from Australia and Bangladesh, to India, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.

Even though many of these markets are bringing on more low-end GSM customers, Ericsson believes there will be strong growth in Asia for wideband-CDMA, even though it has thus far not fared so well against CDMA2000 1X, which is very popular in South Korea and gaining traction in Japan.

"When you roll out a new technology like wideband-CDMA, it is a quite complex technology that takes time to mature and takes time roll out," Svanberg said. "When it comes to handsets, it is an obvious Catch-22 because . . . the handset manufacturers want to see the roll out of the technology networks before they really begin their big efforts and at the same time you need the handsets to see the networks come, so it goes hand in hand. That is why it takes time, and there is no way around that."

He said enough wideband-CDMA and EDGE networks are being steadily deployed in Europe and parts of Asia to make him comfortable with its rate of adoption.

- Mike Clendenin

EE Times

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