by James Fitzsimmons, Principal – Vauban Consulting
Read more via Catching Mice in China
The head of China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile phone group, said the country’s homegrown third generation mobile technology was “a few years behind” other international standards because of problems with handsets.
…Wang Jianzhou, China Mobile’s chairman and chief executive, said: “[TD-SCDMA’s] network operation is normal but there are still a lot of problems. Problems remain in handset choices, quality, performance and prices, where most users complained.
“Compared with other 3G technologies, TD-SCDMA is still a few years behind.”
While there certainly have been plenty of stories about handset problems, the China Economic Review makes an interesting point:
The head of China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile phone group, said the country’s homegrown third generation mobile technology, TD-SCDMA, was ‘a few years behind’ other international standards because of problems with handsets.
(Which is interesting because although there has been much criticism of the handsets most of the complaints have been about the spottiness of the coverage and that is NOT a function of the design or build of the handset.)
For whatever reason, there seems to be a growing consensus that TD-SCDMA apparently sucks eggs. China Mobile had better sort this out, as its rivals are ready to blow a lot of cash and roll out tried and tested CDMA2000 and WCDMA networks within a year or so. But China Mobile, with a huge user base, may have a shiny, small, white knight to save the white elephant. MacNN, citing the 21st Century Business Herald, reports:
Apple and China Mobile are in fact in the “final stages” of negotiations for brining the iPhone to China, writes the state-owned 21st Century Business Herald. The account follows a report from China Communications, which claimed similar progress in talks, and that China Mobile was ready to provide a hefty subsidy, similar to that provided in other countries. The assistance is particularly important in China, where the majority cannot afford an unsubsidized smartphone.
CMiC: can’t afford an unsubsidized iPhone? The hacked models that are everywhere here cost more than the base US$199 price for the new 4GB iPhone 3G. I doubt that your average farmer in Jiangxi is the target customer.
It’s not that the technical problems of TD-SCDMA can be solved by the iPhone, even Steve Jobs can’t do that. It’s the absolute berserk frenzy that a TD-SCDMA-enabled, cheapish, iPhone 3G would cause. The hacked older model iPhone has become a common accoutrement for China’s mobilerati. Imagine their reaction to a GPS-enabled 3G model.
A big China Mobile-Apple iPhone 3G announcement for the China market would quickly bury all the negative press over TD-SCDMA performance with an avalanche of gee-whiz press coverage and Apple’s cool cachet. China Mobile should move quickly to make the deal.