China 3G permits may take up to 2 more years: E&Y

SHANGHAI Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:09am EDT

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Licenses for China's homegrown third-generation (3G) wireless standard may not be granted for another one or two years, an Ernst & Young ERNY.UL partner was quoted as saying in a local newspaper report on Monday.

The rollout of the local standard TD-SCDMA will likely mirror that of GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) in Europe, where commercial trials lasted for 12 to 18 months before it became widely used, said Jonathan Dharmapalan, partner and head of Ernst & Young's global telecommunications centre in Beijing, in a report in the official Shanghai Securities News.

Several analysts have said that the long-delayed licenses for commercial operation of high-speed 3G mobile services using the TD-SCDMA standard appeared likely to be issued late this year or early in 2009.

Dharmapalan said, however, that he expected it to take 12 to 24 months from the start of China's commercial trials for TD-SCDMA until licenses were issued to operators.

TD-SCDMA stands for time division synchronous code division multiple access.

The parent of China Mobile (0941.HK), the country's top wireless operator, started commercial trials of TD-SCDMA in eight Chinese cities at the beginning of April.

China has promised to offer broadband-grade Web quality via mobile devices for visitors to the Beijing Olympics in August but widespread commercial availability in China has appeared increasingly likely to be delayed well beyond that date.

Dharmapalan added that China may also launch licenses for the W-CDMA and CDMA2000 standards for 3G, already well established outside China, alongside TD-SCDMA.

(Reporting by Sophie Taylor; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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