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China backs US mobile technology developed by Qualcomm
Posted: 12-Sep-2000 [Source: FT]

[The Chinese Minister of Information endorses the use of narrowband CDMA in China. ]

Beijing -- "China's telecommunications minister has renewed the country's commitment to narrowband CDMA, the mobile telephony technology developed by the US company Qualcomm.

"The comments from Wu Jichuan, minister of information industry, could ease fears that the US technology would not be employed in China - the world's second largest mobile phone market - following an apparent retreat by the Chinese from an earlier promise to use the US-developed standard.

"Mr Wu criticised "confusing" state media reports which ruled out the possibility that China Unicom, the state's second carrier, would adopt CDMA technology.

"In order to cater for the needs of this market, we must introduce and adopt narrowband CDMA IS 95. This is a necessity," Mr Wu said. "There have been many views expressed in the media but the more that is said, the more confused people become."

"His remarks represent the most emphatic endorsement of narrowband CDMA technology made by a senior Chinese official in several months. In June, senior Unicom executives said that the company had no intention of rolling out a narrowband CDMA network, triggering a significant decline in Qualcomm's share price.

"CDMA is the main competitor to GSM, the European mobile technology sold by companies including Nokia and Ericsson. China is either the world's largest, or second largest market, for Ericsson and Nokia and billions of US dollars in potential US equipment sales rest on to what extent Mr Wu's words are translated into action.

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