by Zhang Danwei
Shanghai. January 23. INTERFAX-CHINA –
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced measures to bolster the development of the country’s homegrown 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, on Jan. 22.
As well as earmarking funds specifically for the development of TD-SCDMA, the government will allow companies engaged in TD-SCDMA network construction to access existing government funds for the electronics and hi-tech industries, MIIT said.
The government will aim to favor TD-SCDMA technology over alternatives in government procurements, and will encourage the use of the standard in e-government, wireless city, rural informatization and e-business projects.
MIIT also said that the approval process for TD-SCDMA projects will be accelerated, and that it will support TD-SCDMA network construction through measures such as ensuring good locations and power supplies for base stations. MIIT will prioritize the granting of network access licenses to TD-SCDMA handsets, and provide specialists to support TD-SCDMA terminal manufacturers.
Owners of networks that refuse to share infrastructure with the TD-SCDMA network where it is deemed necessary will face punishment, MIIT said.
In 2009, the government will draft 25 standards for the upgrade of TD-SCDMA to the 3.5G HSUPA technology, while research will be conducted into the 4G TD-LTE standard.
With the release of the 3G licenses and the new round of 3G network construction, TD-SCDMA will have to face challenges from WCDMA and CDMA2000, MIIT said. This is because, by the end of 2009, all three telecom operators will have their own 3G network with similar coverage.
According to MIIT, a total of RMB 170 billion ($24.86 billion) will be invested in 3G infrastructure construction in 2009. China Mobile will invest RMB 58.8 billion ($8.6 billion) to construct about 60,000 TD-SCDMA base stations, and will cover 238 cities with TD-SCDMA services by the year-end. China Telecom will initially invest about RMB 30 billion ($4.39 billion) to bring CDMA2000 services to 100 cities by the end of March. China Unicom will also initially invest about RMB 30 billion ($4.39 billion), with 55 cities due to have commercial WCDMA trial services in the first half of the year, and 282 cities to have full commercial WCDMA services by the year-end.
MIIT said that it expects a total of RMB 400 billion ($58.5 billion) to be invested in 3G network construction by telecom operators over the next three years and that the entire country will have 3G network coverage by the end of 2011.