TD Mobile Phone Standard Refuses to Die

China’s TD-SCDMA standard for 3G mobile devices is receiving increased support from the central government. From Ming Shuliang in Caijing Magazine:

Supporters of China’s homegrown, third generation (3G) mobile devices standard TD-SCDMA have been riding a commercial rollercoaster for several years, but overall they’ve enjoyed a steady ride with the government.


Just a few months ago, TD appeared to be dying. The standard became a target of consumer complaints after network and service flaws surfaced during a commercial trial launched by China Mobile in April. In addition, companies tied to the standard’s development were upset when TD chipmaker COMMIT went bankrupt.

China Mobile and other companies betting on TD’s future may have wondered whether government support would waver.


Then Li Yizhong, from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), tried to silence pessimistic speculation about the standard’s future. “TD must be successful,” he declared in June.

Hong Kong financial website Quamnet, with information from a CLSA broker, is also reporting on the support for TD-SCDMA coming out of Beijing:

China’s announcement that it will remain “technology neutral” on 3G standards and allow domestic telecom operators to choose themselves should not be taken too literally, with dominant player China Mobile likely to be given a license for the home grown TD-SCDMA standard, CLSA said.

The broker said it would not attach too much importance to the Vice Minister of industry and Informatization’s comment on being 3G technology neutral, as the statement is subject to a number of interpretations.


The possible outcomes under such a policy stance include licensing three different 3G standards – WCDMA, CDMA2000, TD-SCDMA – giving China three different 3G platforms.


“The question remains whether China Mobile will also get a WCDMA license, but this is unlikely in the foreseeable future,” CLSA said.

Some of CDT’s previous coverage of TD-SCDMA can be found here.


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