Shipments of Chinese 3G handsets based on the country√ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√Ę‚Äě¬Ęs homegrown TD-SCDMA standard are forecast to increase seven-fold in 2010, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. The firm said that the backing of the technology by China Mobile √ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√Ę‚ā¨Ňď the world√ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√Ę‚Äě¬Ęs largest mobile operator √ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√Ę‚ā¨Ňď will lead to TD-SCDMA shipments growing 600 percent this year, establishing it as one of the fastest growing mobile technologies in the world. √ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√ĎŇ°Aggressive marketing and subsidising of new phones and keener pricing of services by China Mobile will make TD-SCDMA one of the world√ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√Ę‚Äě¬Ęs fastest growing mobile technologies,√ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√ĎŇď said Tom Kang, a director at Strategy Analytics. Another director at the firm - Neil Mawston √ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√Ę‚ā¨Ňď said that the growth will benefit handset and equipment vendors in the TD-SCDMA space such as Nokia, Samsung, ZTE, Huawei, MediaTek, ST-Ericsson, Spreadtrum and √ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√Ę‚ā¨Ňď potentially √ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√Ę‚ā¨Ňď Apple. √ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√ĎŇ°If Apple eventually chooses to launch a TD-SCDMA version of its iPhone, then we believe this would ignite the market and provide considerable upside for Apple in China,√ź¬≤√ź‚Äö√ĎŇď commented Marston. The firm did not did publish total sales estimates.
According to a recent Wireless Intelligence report, China Mobile's TD-SCDMA connections reached 3.4 million by year-end following the commercial launch of the network in January 2009. During 2009, the operator built-out the TD-SCDMA network to 238 cities, with a 70 percent coverage among so-called 'prefecture-level' cities. However, a significant drag on growth has been the lack of affordable handsets compatible with the TD-SCDMA standard. To counter this bottleneck, China Mobile has funded an R&D effort to encourage manufacturers to develop TD-SCDMA devices. It has also created its own smartphone platform ('Open Mobile System') and devices portfolio ('OPhone') based on a proprietary version of Google's Android operating system. Partly as a result of these efforts, China Mobile said that there are now 266 different designs of TD terminals on the market, some priced at or below the key CNY1,000 (US$146) threshold.
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