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China Mobile Wants More 3G Phones

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
5/28/2008

China Mobile Communications Corp. has launched the second phase of a tender for TD-SCDMA terminals, this time for 100,000 handsets and data cards.

The announcement comes as the Chinese government has finally unveiled its long-awaited plans to reorganize the country's operators before issuing 3G licenses. (See China to Get 3G – At Last!)

China Mobile, which will merge with China TieTong Telecommunications Corp. (formerly China Railcom) under the restructuring, is expected to lead the deployment of China's homegrown 3G technology.

China Mobile has been trialing TD-SCDMA in eight cities, including Beijing, since April 1 and will continue the pilot until July. It's invested 14.2 billion yuan renminbi (US$2.04 billion) in the technology so far.

This second round is larger than the first phase at the beginning of the year, when the carrier bought 60,000 handsets and 15,000 data cards for the trial from six suppliers: ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), Lenovo Group Ltd. (Hong Kong: 992), LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , Samsung Corp. , Amoi Electronics, and Datang Telecom Technology Co. Ltd.

According to Xinhua Finance, the tender requires bidders to have licenses for TD-SCDMA handset production from the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), which have been awarded to around 30 manufacturers.

The carrier also reportedly intends to open its TD-SCDMA retail sales in the pilot cities to manufacturers Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. , Samsung, LG, and ZTE, allowing them to sell mobile phones in its outlets. A deal with Yulong will have it stocking Yulong handsets in 20 percent of its outlets by the end of this month and 50 percent by the end of June.

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

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