China: finally ready‾
If nothing else, 2007 could be the year that China finally takes the plunge into 3G and issues its long awaited licenses. Granted, pundits have been saying 'next year for sure' for the last few years, but one indicator that China is ready for 3G is the declaration by Yang Hua, secretary-general of the TD-SCDMA Industry Alliance (TDIA), that China's homegrown 3G technology is ready for large-scale commercial deployment.
'We are now in the final stage before commercialization, and TD-SCDMA is in commercial trials by Chinese operators in several cities,' Yang said at a TD-SCDMA workshop at ITU Telecom World 2006. Handsets will be ready for commercial use by the end of this year, and by 2008, TD-SCDMA will also be able to support the 3GPP's LTE (Long Term Evolution) evolution roadmap.
However, Mark Chapman, senior VP and general manager of Comarco - which sells T&M equipment for TD-SCDMA - says that TD-SCDMA still has a way to go to prove itself in the 3G arena, in China or anywhere else, as the only way to really know if a wireless technology is ready is to deploy it and put it through its paces.
'If you're going to test something like spectral efficiency, which is one of the key advantages of TD-SCDMA, you have to run it in a real-world environment on a fully loaded network, not in a lab,' Chapman says. 'That's when you'll see the cockroaches running out and what you need to do to make it work and move on to the next stage, which is interoperability between base stations and handsets.'
Chapman went on to describe plans to have TD-SCDMA up and running commercially by the 2008 Olympic Games 'courageous.'