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China Mobile plans 100 3G phone launches

24 августа 2009

China Mobile, the world's biggest wireless operator by subscribers, wants to introduce more than a hundred new phone models in China by the end of the year to entice more of its users to switch to third-generation services, its chairman Wang Jianzhou said.

Mr Wang said China Mobile, which has a user base of 493m, “still has a lot of room to develop” value-added services, such as music and games downloads, but is stymied by a lack of advanced devices that support China’s home-grown TD-SCDMA standard for 3G services.

 “There are some [TD-SCDMA handsets] currently but the volume is limited. What we need is millions and tens of millions [of handsets],” Mr Wang said.

While still the biggest of China’s three telecoms operators, China Mobile’s grip on its market has slowly slipped since Beijing restructured the sector last year.

China Mobile, which in December was still signing up nine of every 10 new subscribers in China, said last week its share of new subscribers dropped to 60 per cent.

This was partly because China Mobile was given a licence to operate a network using the untested TD-SCDMA technology while China Telecom and China Unicom, its two smaller rivals, were granted licences for more established international 3G standards.

Mr Wang denied criticisms that technical problems with the network were hampering growth, saying: “Network quality is rising very quickly. It is improving every month. . . what we are lacking today is the end product, the handsets and the web access cards.”

While there are more than 7,000 phone models that support GSM, the most popular mobile phone standard, as of June there were only 50 TD-SCDMA handset models, Mr Wang said. He hopes that number will rise to 200 models by the end of the year, and is turning to Taiwanese manufacturers to fill that gap.

China Mobile will work with Taiwan’s HTC to develop smartphones and will fund part of the research and development costs, Mr Wang said. HTC is the world’s biggest maker of phones using Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform.

HTC is expected to release a customised version of the Magic, a smartphone running on Google’s Android platform, in China this year. Mr Wang said China Mobile planned to launch five more HTC models next year.

Mr Wang also said he “has great expectations of MediaTek”, Taiwan’s chip design company, the biggest supplier of mobile phone chips to China. MediaTek plans to launch its first chips for smartphones soon.

China Mobile also announced that it would launch smartphones made by Dell, the world’s number two computer maker, and Lenovo, China’s biggest PC maker. Mr Wang said China Mobile was keen to launch more netbooks and electronic readers.


Источник: Financial Times

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