As the 2008 Beijing Olympics gets closer,
One thing is certain, that come what may
But already there are some comments that even if networks are running, foreign tourists with 3G phones will not be able to use it which will reflect badly on
But is that fair? Given the high prices for roaming charges on voice calls, its unlikely there would be much demand for roaming on 3G data even if it were possible. And most of these 3G phone carrying tourists should have dual mode handsets allowing voice calls roaming onto 2G networks.
The peculiar thing is these discussions are taking place even before Chinese 3G licences have been issued. China Mobile’s parent is rolling out TD-SCDMA networks in various cities only as part of a trial.
It is still unclear what the network will eventually look like. Last year there was much discussion about building hybrid networks although analysts noted this could be costly. Chinese vendor ZTE for instance demonstrated TD-SCDMA/HSDPA and WCDMA/HSDPA services connecting to the same radio frequency controller.
Back then the expectation was at least three 3G licences would be issued including WCDMA and CDMA2000. One problem with this grey area of building 3G networks without official licences is what should the handset makers do?
Investing in handsets with dual mode chipsets only to find the project stays in limbo could be costly. Still, my bet is one way or another the Olympics will be showing on mobile handsets next summer whether it’s via TD-SCDMA or broadcast by satellite.
After all the South Koreans demonstrated wireless broadband Wibro video handsets as long ago as the 2002 football World Cup. In 2008 you will expect