Asia Express - Mobile Communications
3G Development in China May 11-15
May 15, 2009
- China's SARFT (Satellite Administration of Radio, Film and Television) recently has entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with China Mobile through its wholly-owned subsidiary, China Satellite Mobile Broadcasting, the Xinhua News reported on May 8. Pursuant to the agreement, both parties will consolidate their content, network, and brand marketing resources in a bid to jointly promote TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) phones supporting the CMMB (China Multimedia Mobile Broadcasting) standard.

Additionally, China Mobile stated that TD-SCDMA phones - which will be equipped with CMMB modules - are due to be released soon. Also, China Mobile will be in charge of CMMB program charging and operation and the profits from the CMMB services will be shared by both parties. To date, the CMMB network coverage has reached 157 cities, covering 250 million people. By year-end 2009, the coverage is expected to grow to 337 prefecture-level cities, according to the same source.

- In the wake of its partnerships with MediaTek, Lenovo, and Beijing Tianyu, Chinese Internet search provider Baidu has signed a cooperation agreement with China Unicom, whereby both parties will team up in the development of 3G wireless Internet services, Dow Jones reported on May 15. According to the same source, Baidu is set to reveal its partnership with China Unicom on the upcoming Saturday, as well as another unnamed strategic telecom partner.

- Beijing Telecom, a subsidiary of China Telecom in Beijing, announced on May 13 that the company will launch three CDMA phones based on EVDO (Evolution-Data Only) standard before May 17, the China Business News reported on May 14. On the same day, China Unicom plans to start commercial trials of its WCDMA (Wideband CDMA) services bundled with WCDMA phones. Meanwhile, Beijing Telecom is set to initially recruit 2,000 users to participate in the trials, according to the Sina News on May 11.

China Telecom's CDMA phones, with a price tag between 2,000 RMB (US$292.8) and 3,000 RMB (US$439.3), will deliver a wide range of 3G services, including Wi-Fi (Wireless-Fidelity), mobile video, instant message, and music downloads, except the video calling service, according again to the China Business News. Moreover, unlike China Unicom, which will offer a 50% discount during the three-month commercial trials of its WCDMA services beginning May 17, Beijing Telecom stated that it will not offer any discount on its 3G rollout during the commercial trial period.