An announcement late last week by state-run media saying Datang Mobile and Alcatel Shanghai Bell had completed the industrialization processes for TD-SCDMA and were ready to deliver products to market brings China to the point of declaring itself the winner in 3G.
TD-SCDMA is China's indigenously developed technology standard for third generation mobile communications (3G). It is in competition with the CDMA2000 standard from the U.S. and Europe's WCDMA.
Analysts note the ability to set industry standards, a combination of power and pride, is a key objective for China to sustain its rise as a telecommunications powerhouse.
A cursory glance at China's mobile communications history during the first two generations of cell phones (analog and GSM) was one of foreign predominance in products, technology and manufacturing processes. China used market access as the means to gain a technological foothold.
Since the late 1990s the Ministry of Information Industry, the Chinese government's regulatory body responsible for telecommunications, has devoted considerable time, energy and resources into the development of its own technology and industrial process standards, insiders say.
There is a policy to provide greater market independence in telecommunications, an industry providing jobs as well as benchmark of a nation's technical competence.
Chinese regulators want to take the next step by setting the technology standards foreign firms will have to license. Xinhua noted, "China's launch of 3G depends on the viability of TD-SCDMA."
A press release issued by the two companies said it was the "most significant milestone up to date in achieving full commercial deployment of TD-SCDMA" since they formed a partnership to develop the technology in Nov. 2004.
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