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.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Negative review of TD-SCDMA

My last report on TD-SCDMA can be found here:


The review so far had been good. But I am sure there are negative report also. I found one and it can be found here:


It is in a newspaper called People’s Net Market Paper. I will translate the main point below.

TD-SCDMA has excellent voice quality. It is even better than the existing GSM.

There is a lot of coverage issues. There are a lot of areas that only have one or two bars. Some places doesn’t even have any bars. The calls are very unstable in places where the coverage is bad. There are places that one can’t even make a call successfully.

The reviewer made a video phone call. The quality is good. But there seem to be delay once a while. The download speed is very good. The reviewer can get a download speed up to 200kB/second (the advertised top speed is 385kB/second).

When it is stationary, the reviewer can have excellent video phone or video/TV programming. The TV volume is loud and clear for the TV programs. But when moving, such as in the subway or on the bus, the speed degrades badly. In a lot of cases, the connection will break.

But there is a very serious battery issue. After only 20 minutes of phone calls and after downloading several short video clips, it already spent half of the battery.

Some customers complained about the instability of the calls. Some calls gets disconnected. It seems like the instability of phone calls are the biggest issue.

From this article, it is hard to tell what caused the instability of the call. If it is the coverage issue, it is to be expected. It can be easily solved by adding more base stations. Mobile operators such as China Mobile are doing that any way. This is really not the issue of the standard itself and can be solved easily by adding more base stations to provide better coverage.

But if the instability is caused by the underlining technical deficiencies of the standard itself, then we will have a big problem. This then become a fundamental problem that no amount of additional infrastructure build can remedy.

It is hard to tell which is the case at this point. But during this early stage, the lack of coverage is to be expected.

Another problem is the power consumption issues. There seems to be conflicting reports on whether this is the issue. Even if it is, it is not clear whether the issue is caused by the standard itself or caused by the deficiency of the handset design. If it is the handset design, it will be solved easily by the future design optimizations of the handset companies. But if it is the technical deficiencies of the standard itself, it could present a very big problem.

At this point, we will probably have to wait for a couple of months of trials to see whether there are patterns emerge.


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