Despite ongoing trials
and a groundswell of government and carrier optimism that the system would be ready in time for the Olympics
this summer, at least one analyst is thinking that retail availability of China's homegrown 3G TD-SCDMA standard (and the equipment to take advantage of it) is still years away. The logic's pretty simple: historically, GSM trials have tended to last 12 to 18 months, and there's really no reason that the TD-SCDMA players would be able to effectively and reliably get it done any faster. Plus, network build-outs and handset developments take plenty of time, so they've got some work ahead of 'em. The outspoken analyst, working for Ernst & Young's global telecommunications group in Beijing, also thinks that China might end up awarding licenses for WCDMA (the underpinnings of UMTS) and CDMA2000 at the same time that TD-SCDMA licenses are handed out -- which begs the question, why'd they go through this whole rigmarole of developing their own standard to begin with?