China Mobile Plans 3G Tests

China Mobile will launch trials of a 3G (third-generation) mobile service in eight Chinese cities next month, Chinese media reported Friday.

The company will begin testing TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) systems in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Qinhuangdao, Shenyang and Xiamen beginning April 1. The test will involve a total of 20,000 users, Sina.com reported. The reports did not say how long the trial will last.

The 3G (third generation mobile telephony) service will feature one-way billing, according to the reports. Currently non-3G customers in China are charged for both making and receiving calls.

China Mobile did not respond to requests for comment.

China has yet to issue 3G licenses to any of its mobile or fixed-line operators. China Mobile, as the nation's and the world's largest mobile carrier seems guaranteed a license, especially as it is conducting the test.

TD-SCDMA is China's homegrown 3G standard, although numerous international companies participated in its development, including Nortel, Motorola and Alcatel. The standard has failed to gain any traction outside China, and slow roll-out of 3G services in China is blamed in part on its slow development. Smaller trials took place last year in second and third-tier cities.

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