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China will benefit from timely 3G licensing, says UMTS Forum

Chinese operators can participate in global opportunity by selecting W-CDMA

The UMTS Forum, the trade body promoting the global uptake of UMTS third generation mobile services, today urged China's national administrations to give clear messages to the mobile industry by progressing its 3G licensing process. The UMTS Forum also indicated the benefits to Chinese mobile operators of selecting W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) radio access technology for their 3G networks.

Speaking at the China 3G Mobile International Summit hosted by IIR Asia in Beijing, Jean-Pierre Bienaim, chairman of the UMTS Forum, encouraged China to participate now in the global market opportunity for 3G that will be enabled by the widescale adoption of UMTS/W-CDMA technology.

"By selecting W-CDMA radio access technology for 3G in harmonised frequency bands identified globally for IMT-2000, China can align itself with a truly worldwide market for mobile services and terminals, as already demonstrated by the worldwide success of the GSM platform", stated Bienaim.

Bienaim stressed the importance of including W-CDMA in China's 3G regulatory and technology decisions so that the country can take full advantage of the global UMTS opportunity: "W-CDMA/UMTS is the most cost effective path to 3G for more than 75% of the world's wireless market. We urge China to make a timely decision on 3G licensing that will allow industry players and end-users alike to enjoy the unmatched benefits of UMTS."

W-CDMA has been adopted by 98% of the operators that have been awarded 3G licenses so far and is the natural evolution from GSM, which now counts almost one billion subscribers worldwide. W-CDMA offers significant economies of scale for mobile operators. For incumbents, it allows them to re-utilise key elements of their existing GSM 2G networks. For new and existing players alike, it offers the benefits of: simplified automatic international roaming; interoperability of services; an open platform for development of applications; the opportunity to export IPRs; and the widest choice of terminals. There are already almost 1.5 million UMTS subscribers on W-CDMA networks in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Bienaim also outlined the relevance of TD-SCDMA radio access technology to the Chinese mobile market:

"Using TDD spectrum, TD-SCDMA is a complementary technology standard to W-CDMA that uses FDD spectrum, and indeed it is standardised within the same body, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). TD-SCDMA can present a good complement to W-CDMA by offering additional spectrum when needed - mainly targeted on high speed data services."

"Being 'homegrown', TD-SCDMA has the potential to enhance the revenues of local developers and vendors in China", continued Bienaim. "However, with most of the world choosing W-CDMA as its 3G technology standard, China can benefit primarily by being part of the global W-CDMA family."

Although the Chinese government has yet to allocate 3G licenses, the UMTS Forum has previously predicted that China will be one of the top five markets for UMTS/3G and has estimated that by 2010 there will be approximately 85 million 3G subscribers in the country.