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On 3/26/2008, Netease Tech. department did a review on the new service. I believe it is the first such review. The article is as follows:
My brief translation is as follows. The article had a lot of pictures. I would not copy the pictures here.
Starting April this year, China Mobile will provide TD-SCDMA trials on 9 cities in
The cost of the service is video phone of 0.6 RMB/minute and voice phone of 0.4 RMB/minute. The monthly service is 10 RMB/month for 30MB (?) of data, 50 RMB/month for 200MB of data, 200 RMB/month for 4G of data, and 300 RMB for 8G of data.
The SIM card for the TD-SCDMA is different than that of other standards. They are not inter-changeable.
First, Netease conducted voice phone calls. They found the voice quality very clear. As clear as the GSM network. There were no voice spike or fade or any other interruptions. For this test, they can only do the stationary voice calls. They will conduct the voice call when traveling in high speed in the future.
(My note. Phone call during high speed travel is one of the more problematic areas for cellular phones. Too bad Netease is not able to test this aspect.)
Next, Netease tested the video phone option. They found the image to be very clear. The video refresh rate is about 5 to 8 frame/seconds. It is less than regular TV (30 frame per second), but they found it acceptable for this purpose.
Next, they test the TD-SCDMA’s internet capability. At this point, they can support two capabilities, TD-CMWAP and TD-CMNET. At this point, the data rate supported by TD-CMWAP can be found by GPRS/EDGE. Therefore, it won’t be the selling point for TD-SCDMA. However, TD-CMNET is another story.
To use TD-CMNET over the existing 2G or 2.5G is almost like the difference of using ADSL (broadband) vs. 56k analog modem dial-up for desktop internet browsing.
Of course, Netease went to www.163.com for internet browsing test. They found it much faster than the existing GPRS/EDGE. It only take 3 to 4 second before the page start to load. The browsing afterward is extremely fast also.
At this point, the maximum data rate is 384kbps. They also heard that the next (half) generation TD-HSDPA 3.5G shall be here soon.
Next, Netease tested the TV viewing. It only takes 3 to 4 seconds before the TV program showing up. The quality is excellent. It has the about the same quality as the watching TV at home. The sound from the speaker phone is very good also.
In addition, one can use TD-SCDMA to perform remote control or remote surveillance functions. For example, to check the traffic condition of one’s travel destination. Or use TD-SCDMA phone to control the computer at home or home appliances.
They also watch an NBA game on the phone and found the quality excellent.
But they did found a few minor problem. They found, at the location where they done the test, the connection to the internet is not very stable. It disconnects a few times. They hope this is just a phenomenon during the trial.
In addition, they think the next generation TD-HSDPA shouldn’t be too far away. The license to operate TD-HSDPA had been recently granted to a few phone manufacturers. It shouldn’t be very long for this new service to come out.
Finally, they predict TD-SCDMA will be offered to the general public in June this year.
This concludes the review by Netease Tech department. From the review, it looks good. While I am certain there will be a lot of teething problems in the next two years, I believe Chinese users will tolerate them as long as they are not show stoppers. Except for the unstable internet connection, there doesn’t seem to be any show stoppers. We have to however, keep an eye on that as more reviews come in.
If TD-SCDMA can really get into commercial operation by June this year, it will really be great news to equipment manufactures such as SPRD and WVAS content providers such as SINA and KONG.