Taiwanese 3G mobile operator Vibo Telecom launched a trial TD-SCDMA network on Tuesday, an event timed to coincide with a Chinese official's visit to Taiwan to discuss how Taiwan and China can work more closely on developing technology standards.
TD-SCDMA (Time-Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) is a 3G technology developed in China as part of a bid to create home-developed standards and reduce the nation's reliance on foreign technologies. China Mobile, the world's largest mobile network operator, is to date the only company in the world using the technology. The company has been working to expand use of TD-SCDMA abroad and has said test networks could soon be up and running in Japan and South Korea.
Taiwan's Vibo is one of the only companies running a TD-SCDMA trial outside of China. Vibo launched the trial network in Taipei's Neihu Technology Park, an area set aside by the government to house office buildings and research centers for high tech companies in Taiwan, a Vibo representative confirmed. China's Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Lou Qinjian, attended the launch ceremony.
The vice minister is taking part in a forum in Taipei aimed at discussing the joint development of technology standards for 3G telecommunications (TD-SCDMA), LEDs (light emitting diode), LCD screens, audio/video devices, Internet TV, green technologies and more, according to Taiwan's Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center.
The chairman of China Mobile, Wang Jianzhou, visited Taiwan in August to drum up support for TD-SCDMA among electronics makers on the island. Smartphone maker High Tech Computer (HTC) was one of several companies that pledged to create more handsets and other devices for TD-SCDMA network users.
Wang has blamed a lack of lower-cost TD-SCDMA smartphones for the slow uptake of 3G subscriptions among customers in China. He hopes to see more smartphones priced around 1,000 Chinese yuan (US$147) on the market soon. Most users of China Mobile's 3G network signed up for Internet dongles or data cards for laptops.
China Mobile boasted 513.5 million subscribers as of the end of October, according to its Web site. The company's goal is to reach 3 million 3G subscribers by the end of this year, up from the 2.3 million it reported last week.