China awards licenses for homegrown 3G network
Six handset makers, including Lenovo and ZTE, were awarded the first post-trial period access licenses to China's homegrown third generation (3G) network on Wednesday, according to the TD-SCDMA Industry Alliance.
The move indicated that the technology, TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), was entering the commercial stage.
The licenses would immediately give Lenovo, ZTE, Hisense, Samsung, LG and New Postcom opportunities to win procurement deals from China Mobile.
In December, the nation's largest mobile operator said it planned to purchase 30,000 TD-SCDMA mobile phones and 10,000 data cards for 3G network trials.
China Mobile, China Telecom and China Netcom, three major Chinese phone operators, are conducting network trials of TD-SCDMA in 10 cities. China has promised to provide 3G mobile communications services in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Some western governments and companies have accused China of delaying the issue of 3G licenses to allow its home-grown standard to mature enough to compete with foreign rivals, including WCDMA and CDMA2000.
Xi Guohua, Vice-Minister of Information Industry, however, pledged last year that the government would give equal status to WCDMA and CDMA2000 despite its support for the domestic standard.