About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is for my personal use. It serves as my personal diary as I investigate Chinese internet/gaming companies for investment purpose. If you have any comments or disagreement, please give me feedbacks.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Evaluation of TD-SCDMA by Sohu Tech reporter

My last post on the TD-SCDMA can be found here:


After Netease did a review for the new 3G service trial, Sohu will of course not going to be left out of this. A Sohu tech reporter did a three part reviews as well. I will give a brief translation.

On 4/1/2008, he did the first part of the review:


This is the first day that TD-SCDMA can be tested. Most people this reporter called haven’t got the new features yet. Not much can be said in this report. The only thing is that this reporter think the quality of the voice call is excellent.

In the second report, it is probably later on in the same day, 4/1/2008, he talked about a little bit of more features:


In this report, he talked about using the video phone feature. It seems like the quality is very good. He is even able to see the background of the other caller clearly. He also talked about the video phone feature when both caller and receiver are traveling with speed. He was on a bus traveling about 80km/hour (about 50 miles/hour) while the other caller is in the subway traveling about 80km/hour (50miles/hr), there are degradation to the voice and video quality of the call. But overall, it is acceptable.

Out of 20 video phone calls he made that day, one can’t receive the video image. But that is probably more to do with the problem with the mobile handset of the received caller.

He also talked about the battery issue. For that day, that reporter made 20 voice calls, 20 video calls, 10 short messages, and 10 minutes worth of WAP. Afterward, the battery is virtually out. The reporter felt it is very battery consuming.

The third report is based on his experience on the same day (4/1/2008) also.


In this report, he talked about his experience on the fastest train in the world, Shanghai’s Pudong Airport Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) train. Some information about this train can be found here:


He arrived at the Shanghai airport and took the Maglev train. He made a video phone call while on the train. At the beginning, with the train stationary, the quality of the call is excellent. But as the train started moving and getting to about 50 km/hour (31 mile/hour), he started to notice the degradation of the quality of the call. When the speed of the train gets to 180 km/hour (112 miles/hour), the call is disconnected. The speed of the train gets faster until it reaches about 300 km/hour (186 miles/hour). At that speed, video phone is not possible. However, even at that speed, he is able to conduct voice call. There are degradation to the quality of the voice call at 300 km/hour, but the phone call is understandable and acceptable. That reporter believed that TD-SCDMA passed the speed test since it will not be possible for 2G phones to keep the link at this extreme speed.

Overall, he felt the quality of various services for the TD-SCDMA is excellent. But there are coverage issues. There are some problem inside the hotel, inside the subway and in Shanghai’s rotating tower.

Also, he already receive his first SMS junk mail. (Remember the issue with FMCN, I guess SMS junk mail is really bad if people already start to receive junk mail on the first day of a trial).

In summary, Sohu’s report seems to suggest two possible problems. First, he thinks there might be power consumption problem. Second, there might be coverage problem.

But from the amount of phone calls he made, I am not quite sure this is the problem. If I made the same amount of calls, it will probably drain the battery of my mobile phone also. In addition, usually the first generation handsets are electricity hogs. They are usually corrected in a few months. With better handset design (which is not an issue for the standard itself) and larger battery capacity, this doesn’t seem like a problem.

The second problem he mentioned, the coverage problem, is really to be expected. It is going to take China Mobile and China Unicom a few years to install tens of thousands of base stations all over the country. There will definitely be coverage problem at this early stage.

Interestingly, he didn’t mention the problem pointed out by Netease’s review, the instability of mobile internet browsing. That actually could be a bigger problem. We will just have to keep track of different reviews to see if unstable internet browsing is epidemic.

Finally, I think this review give me the impression that TD-SCDMA is more matured than I thought originally. It seems they had solved one of a supposed weakness, performance when one or both of callers are traveling at high speed.

As far, both reviews give me a lot of hope that speedy expansion of 3G is possible in China. Major expansion in months rather than in years seems more likely.

But we need to keep track of more reviews. There might just be some issues out there that nobody thought of that might come back to haunt us.

No comments:


A test for now