China Mobile to invite bid for 3G cell phones

China Mobile Communications Corp. is to invite bids for the supply of TD-SCDMA cell phones worth 4 billion to 6 billion yuan in September, according to industry insiders.

Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-CDMA) is the third generation (3G) mobile telecommunications standard developed by the China Academy of Telecommunications Technology in collaboration with Datang and Siemens.

China Mobile will purchase about two million TD-SCDMA cell phones, putting the average cell phone price at an expected 2,000 to 3,000 yuan.

Meanwhile, two million TD-SCDMA cell phone numbers will be formally issued from October through the first half of 2008, company sources were quoted as saying by the Shanghai Securities News.

A national TD-SCDMA network is expected to be completed by 2009, but about 20,000 TD-SCDMA cell phones are being tested. China Mobile had expressed dissatisfaction with the test results and required handset makers to redesign phones, sources said.

At present, China Mobile is constructing TD-SCDMA networks in cities including Beijing and Shanghai, while China Telecom and China Netcom are expanding their existing TD-SCDMA networks in Baoding and Qingdao, which are expected to be completed in October.

Earlier this month, the government approved the use of the European WCDMA standard and the U.S. CDMA 2000 standard, for 3G mobile phones in China to rival TD-SCDMA.