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TD-SCDMA Surfaces into Commercial Daylight, Says ABI Research
Posted: 29-May-2008 [Source: ABI Research]

[TD-SCDMA has made a "soft launch" in eight cities, and is preparing a rollout of 60,000 handsets equiped with 3G-specific services attracting young subscribers according to an ABI Research report.]

ABI -- "Though China's government has yet to issue its 3G licenses and telecom restructuring is still ongoing, TD-SCDMA is now live," reports ABI Research analyst Hwai Lin Khor. "After many years of research and development, and many trials conducted by China Mobile, the 3G service has made a 'soft' launch in eight cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen starting April 2008 on a trial basis."

To attract subscribers, China Mobile has also opened TD-SCDMA "experience shops" in these major cities to allow the public to experiment with TD-SCDMA handsets and gain confidence with TD-SCDMA's capabilities.

In order to make TD-SCDMA service an incremental upgrade from existing 2.5G subscriptions, China Mobile is understood to be charging TD-SCDMA subscribers monthly subscription fees of RMB50($7)/month and RMB0.6($0.09)/minute for video calls, while mobile Internet usage will be based on a flat rate with a capped usage plan. Charges for voice calls, SMS, MMS and additional data traffic are maintained at the same rate as existing plans. Value-added services already available for 2.5G subscribers, including a wireless music club, mobile newspaper, and mobile wallet, are also accessible to TD-SCDMA subscribers at the same rate but with an improved user experience.

"China Mobile is planning to roll out 3G-specific services such as mobile TV, video sharing applications, video conferencing, etc. progressively during 2008," notes Hwai Lin Khor. "ABI Research believes this price plan and service package will attract existing young subscribers to make the switch."

During this initial launch, 60,000 dual-mode TD-SCDMA/GSM handsets and 15,000 data cards will be on sale in China Mobile's TD-SCDMA experience shops, from popular brands such Samsung, LG, Hisense, Lenovo, ZTE, and Postcom. These handsets are in the mid- to high-end range with built-in camera, wide screen, and extensive multimedia applications. China Mobile is believed to be selling these phones for subsidized prices of RMB2,000 ($286) - RMB4,000 ($572).

"Now is when the real test kicks in," concludes Hwai Lin Khor, "gauging TD-SCDMA's performance under conditions of mass and varied mobility usage."

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