Nokia, the world’s largest handset vendor, plans to support the world’s largest operator, China Mobile, with its expected nationwide rollout of homegrown 3G technology TD-SCDMA. “We will have the handsets in the market when the service becomes active,” said Nokia’s VP of Greater China sales, David Tang, according to a South China Morning Post report. Although Nokia does not currently have any TD-SCDMA handsets, the company can rely on expertise from its 49 percent stake in a Chinese TD-SCDMA network infrastructure joint-venture, Potevio (China Putian is the majority shareholder). The move will potentially allow it to maintain its impressive position in China; the report notes that Nokia sold just over 70 million mobile phones in China during 2007, giving it a market-share of 42 percent.

China Mobile is currently trialling TD-SCDMA services in 10 cities, and has said it will increase this to 38 by the end of next-June. Current TD-SCDMA handset suppliers include ZTE, Lenovo and Guangzhou New Postcom. As of end-June this year, China Mobile had spent CNY15 billion (US$2.2 billion) in developing the TD-SCDMA technology in the first phase of the 3G network trial. It built 15,000 basestations and reportedly had 175,000 3G trial customers as of August 24. China Mobile is expected to be granted a commercial nationwide TD-SCDMA license once the country’s industry restructuring is complete, whilst China Telecom and China Unicom will likely receive 3G licenses based on CDMA2000 and WCDMA technology, respectively. With over 400 million subscribers, China Mobile is a huge customer for Nokia. The Finnish vendor said it aims to support all three 3G technologies in the region.