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Commercial Use of 3G Boosts Mobile Phone Industry

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As commercial use of the 3G (third-generation mobile telecom) technology speeds up in China, the mobile phone industry, domestic and foreign, expects to get a reprieve from the current industrial gloom, according to attendees at a Mobile Phone Exhibition and Forum that opened on Thursday.

According to a report by the IDC, a provider of market intelligence and advisory services, global mobile phone production was down 15.8 percent at 244.8 million units in the first quarter in 2009 compared to the same period last year, the biggest slide in 20 years.

China's mobile phone production was also down 3 percent year on year in the first quarter, according to figures from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

But as demand for 3G phones increases, China's mobile phone industry has shown signs of recovery, some attendees agreed.

China Telecom, one of China's three telecom service providers, has purchased about 10 million CDMA terminals from mobile phone makers, according to information released at the Forum.

CDMA, or Code Division Multiple Access, is a method for transmitting multiple digital signals simultaneously over the same carrier frequency, and is most widely applied for cell phones.

China's three telecom companies use different CDMA standards. They each order terminals from cell phone makers that support their own standards.

China Unicom uses the Europe-developed WCDMA, China Telecom uses the US-developed CDMA2000, while China Mobile uses the home-developed TD-SCDMA.

Aggregate number of CDMA users of China Telecom and China Unicom reached 32.84 million by the end of March. In March, CDMA users of China Telecom and China Unicom were up 634.2 percent year on year. In the first quarter, new CDMA customers of the two companies increased by 4.93 million, which is believed to have given confidence to cell phone makers.

China has the world's biggest number of cell phone users, exceeding 600 million by the end of July last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

A report by the China Internet Network Information Center predicts the number will reach 900 million in the next three years. In terms of numbers, more people would be using their mobile phones for Internet access rather than the PCs. This suggests there would be a greater demand for the 3G-based mobiles phones, which integrates wireless communications and the Internet.

The 2009 China Mobile Industry Exhibition and Forum opened Thursday will end on May 17.

(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2009)