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China Mobile to Test TD-SCDMA on 60,000 Phones From April 1

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BEIJING (Dow Jones) China Mobile Communications Corp. will allow customers to begin testing the country's locally developed third generation wireless standard from April 1, company spokeswoman Rainie Lei said Friday.

The company, the parent of Hong-Kong listed China Mobile, will issue 20,000 cell phones to selected customers and allow them to test the TD-SCDMA standard, with free air time worth up to CNY800 during the trial period.

An additional 40,000 phones will be available in stores for a fee of CNY50 a month, and CNY0.40 per minute for outgoing calls, Lei said.

The trial will run from April to July in eight cities, including Beijing.

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, has been widely expected to order millions of phones for large-scale testing of the technology. Lei said whether the company moves on to larger-scale testing will depend on the results of the commercial trial.

The homegrown 3G standard is intended as an alternative to two 3G technologies that are widely used around the world, Wideband CDMA and CDMA2000.

Asked if TD-SCDMA will be available in cities hosting Olympic events during the games in August, Lei said, "at this point, we don't know."

China has pledged to make 3G wireless services available during the Olympics. So far, 3G wireless services aren't available in the country.

-By Aaron Back, Dow Jones Newswires; (8610) 6588-5848; aaron.back@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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