Top three play­ers locked in a fierce bat­tle for supremacy in for­mats used

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By MA SI masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Two of China’s ma­jor tele­com car­ri­ers, which trail the mar­ket leader, have joined forces to step up ef­forts to in­tro­duce phones that can ac­cess all net­works.

China United Net­work Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Group Corp, bet­ter known as China Uni­com, and China Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Corp have in­ten­si­fied the cam­paign for smart­phones that can sup­port six dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies (to wit: GSM, CDMA, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA, TD-LTE and FDD-LTE).

In the do­mes­tic mo­bile ser­vices mar­ket, the duo trails China Mo­bile Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Corp.

Once such six-mode hand­sets be­come pop­u­lar, it will be far eas­ier for con­sumers to buy a new phone. They don’t have to worry about whether the gad­get sup­ports the tech­nol­ogy used by a par­tic­u­lar tele­com car­rier and they have more free­dom to change car­ri­ers later, said Ku Wei, deputy mar­ket­ing man­ager of China Uni­com.

Last month, China Tele­com and China Uni­com’s pro­posal of smart­phones sup­port­ing six dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies was ap­proved as part of the global com­mu­ni­ca­tion stan­dards by the Global Mo­bile Sup­pli­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, an in­ter­na­tional stan­dards or­ga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing in­ter­ests of mo­bile op­er­a­tors world­wide.

The pro­posal, ap­proved with a unan­i­mous vote at the GMSA’s 29th ple­nary meet­ing held in Swe­den, put such smart­phones un­der the um­brella of multi-SIM de­vices.

Multi-SIM de­vice refers to any smart­phone that na­tively ac­com­mo­dates mul­ti­ple SIMs. In China, dual-SIM hand­sets are in vogue, which en­able one phone to sup­port two car­ri­ers at the same time.

An­a­lysts be­lieve that the GMSA’s ap­proval rep­re­sents the in­ter­ests of multi-SIM de­vice users in some spe­cific ar­eas like China.

The global ac­knowl­edge­ment came af­ter all-net­work ac­cess hand­sets be­came a na­tional stan­dard in China last year. Since then, mul­ti­SIM de­vices have swiftly taken a dom­i­nant po­si­tion in the world’s largest smart­phone arena.

Lat­est data showed that six­mode smart­phones ac­counted for 75 per­cent of the mo­bile de­vices sold last year.

China Uni­com and China Tele­com es­ti­mated the fig­ure will ex­ceed 85 per­cent by this year-end.

“An in­creas­ing num­ber of hand­set man­u­fac­tur­ers will make de­vices in ac­cor­dance with the stan­dard, so the man­u­fac­tur­ing cost will go down, for they do not have to make

An in­creas­ing num­ber of hand­set man­u­fac­tur­ers will make de­vices in ac­cor­dance with the stan­dard.” Xiang Li­gang, a tele­com ex­pert and CEO of tele­com in­dus­try web­site cc­time.com

dif­fer­ent types of con­tract phones for dif­fer­ent car­ri­ers,” said Xiang Li­gang, a tele­com ex­pert and CEO of tele­com in­dus­try web­site cc­time.com.

“The global ac­knowl­edg­ment of the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard will also bring con­sumers big con­ve­nience, es­pe­cially for those who suf­fer from no tele­com sig­nal in foreign coun­tries. Multi-SIM hand­sets will be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in fu­ture,” Xiang said.

As the trend sweeps China, a fierce de­bate is rag­ing about the coun­try’s main tele­com providers.

China Tele­com and China Uni­com, two of the main ini­tia­tors of the pro­posal, sug­gest that a multi-SIM de­vice must be able to sup­port all of the six dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies, while China Mo­bile con­sid­ers the idea as un­nec­es­sary.

It thinks it would be enough

Zhuang Qiange contributed to the story.

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