China Mobile chooses local 3G standard

China Mobile says it will start offering 3G services using the locally developed TD-SCDMA standard by next June.

The world's largest wireless carrier said it would launch the service in 38 cities. China Mobile added 45.25 million new subscribers during the first half, bringing its customer base to 415 million people.

Rival operator China Unicom is also planning a 3G roll-out, but appears to be favouring the more mature WCDMA standard that is already in use around the world.

China Mobile may face problems during the introduction of the home-grown 3G technology.

“TD-SCDMA is a few years behind other 3G technologies,” said Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile, adding that many customers had complained that the network and handsets were unstable.

China Mobile is working with vendors such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola to try to get them to provide high-quality cellphones to support the standard.

Long-term prospects for China's mobile operators depend on the new revenue streams which 3G services make possible.

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