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China Mobile to Trial 3G Handset Technology
    2008-03-28 15:42:24     Shanghai Daily
China Mobile will start a commercial trial of its 3G service next Tuesday in eight cities nationwide, including Shanghai and Beijing, the world's No. 1 mobile carrier by subscriber numbers said today in Beijing.

It will mark the first time in China that 3G services will be available to the public and is expected to hasten the process of the long-awaited 3G license issuance.

People can subscribe to the TD-SCDMA (time division-synchronous code division multiple access) services with a mobile number starting with 157, according to Gao Songge, China Mobile's spokesperson.

The eight cities include Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Qinhuangdao, Shenyang, Tianjin and Xiamen, where Olympic matches will be held in this summer.

The 3G Phones will cost from 2,000 to 4,000 yuan (US$570), China Mobile said.

Each call with TD-SCDMA phones costs users 0.40 yuan (five US cents) a minute and the receiving call is free. The 30-megabyte data services costs 10 yuan each month and people can choose other data packages up to 300 yuan for 8 gigabytes. Users can also choose prepaid packages from 28 yuan (150 minutes) to 88 yuan (600 minutes).

During the trial, users can enjoy a 50 percent discount of the fees, according to China Mobile.

Most 3G services, from video conferencing, film downloads and multinational games, are rich-data services depending on high-speed networks.

"The fee is close to the 2G services and now the key of the services are the TD-SCDMA handsets," said Sandy Shen, a Shanghai-based analyst at Gartner, a US-based IT research firm.

People care more about the available handset models, such as iPhone, than the kind of networks, Shen said.

Six handset firms provide the first batch of TD-SCDMA phones, including ZTE, Samsung and Lenovo.

More than 2,000 ZTE TD-SCDMA phones will be available in Shanghai, including a dual-model phone allowing users to retain their existing numbers to enjoy 3G services, according to Luo Zhongsheng, ZTE's TD-SCDMA terminal product division's general manager.

"The killer applications of TD-SCDMA includes mobile TV, video conferencing and handset stock services in China," Luo said.

Many areas in Shanghai, including the Pudong New Area and Metro lines 1 and 2, have TD-SCDMA signals.

Every China Mobile outlet in Shanghai will set up a 3G phone counter to sell 3G phones, an outlet officer told Shanghai Daily.



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