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China Mobile rents out TD-SCDMA phones during Olympics

Posted: 29 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:China 3G? TD-SCDMA handset? W-CDMA? Beijing Olympics?

Foreign visitors in the Beijing Olympics will not be able to use their 3G mobile phones, but they can hire handsets from China Mobile and use the country's homegrown technology, a senior official disclosed.

W-CDMA and CDMA 2000 are two popular 3G standards worldwide, but China has yet to adopt them, which means foreign visitors will not be able to utilize the service based on the two platforms, according to vice minister of Industry and Information Technology Xi Guohua.

But to fulfill the country's promise to provide 3G services during the Olympics, Xi said foreigners can hire a 3G handset with TD-SCDMA, a standard developed in China and is now under commercial trials in 10 mainland cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao and Tianjin.

"China Mobile would be happy to hire out such a handset to any foreign visitor," Xi said. He said the TD-SCDMA network in the trial cities has covered 95 percent of the areas that the GSM network can cover.

Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile, said the company plans to offer at least 20,000 3G handsets for hire during the Games.

Xi said China is expected to complete the restructuring of its telecommunications industry within six months to improve competitiveness in the sector. "Once the restructuring process is completed, we'll start to issue 3G mobile licenses," he said.

To ensure smooth telecom connections during the Games, Xi said its Olympic partners, China Mobile and China Netcom, have made great efforts to expand their network capacities, but "there might be temporary congestions if the data flow rises suddenly."

For example, he said, if tens of thousands of spectators call at the same time when the opening ceremony is over, the line could become very busy. "Such a short congestion time will be allowed, but a system collapse won't be tolerated," Xi said.

He added that the ministry is working closely with subway management authorities in Beijing to offer mobile phone services for passengers. Currently, subway travelers cannot use their handsets because the wireless frequency might affect the subway's dispatch signals.

However, Xi said the problem might be solved soon as "a major technological breakthrough has been made."

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