Chinese telecommunications players will meet in August to discuss standards for third-generation (3G) telephony and mobile television, state-run media reported Friday.
The Mobile Multimedia Technology Alliance (MMTA) will meet in the southern Chinese city of Guilin Aug. 10 and 11 to discuss standards, the English-language website of People’s Daily said.
The meeting may be a sign that Chinese telecom officials are preparing to issue 3G licenses.
China’s top four telecom companies—China Telecommunications, China Network Communications Group (China Netcom), China Mobile Communications, and China United Telecommunications (China Unicom)—are all members of the MMTA, along with the research arm of the country’s Ministry of Information Industry.
Telecom equipment manufacturers Potevio, Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Vimicro and Alcatel’s Alcatel Shanghai Bell round out the MMTA’s membership.
The report said that officials from the Ministry of Information Industry, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Science and Technology will also attend the meeting.
China’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII), the nation’s telecom regulator, has never released a timetable for 3G licensing or said how many licenses it will issue, although industry participants generally believe MII will offer six licenses. Foreign carriers will not be allowed to apply for licenses.
Chinese officials and industry executives have stated they want 3G in place in time for the August 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. However, with most analysts now predicting an early 2007 debut for 3G, that would leave operators with less time to test and implement the network before the Olympics than had previously been hoped.
One issue has been the selection of a 3G standard. China’s own standard, time division-synchronous code division multiple access, is favored by local enterprises and government officials, but may delay wide uptake due to a lack of support from equipment and handset manufacturers.
Several mobile television trials are under way throughout the country, using standards including digital audio broadcast and the Samsung Electronics-backed terrestrial digital mobile broadcasting, but no national standard has yet been designated.
-Steven Schwankert, IDG News Service (Beijing Bureau)
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