CDMA Rollouts Can Proceed, China's Zhu Says

HONG KONG (03/22/2000) - Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji has confirmed that China United Telecommunications (Unicom) will be allowed to move ahead with the planned deployment of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)-based mobile networks, despite reports that China had decided to halt deployment of the mobile telecommunications technology.

At a press conference last week in Beijing, Zhu dismissed press reports that China had cancelled plans to deploy CDMA networks, saying the reports were "untrue," according to China Daily, the country's official English-language newspaper.

The State Council has already given Unicom permission to purchase CDMA equipment, Zhu said. Unicom will purchase the equipment in close cooperation with the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC), he added.

Unicom is not the only mobile network operator in China with an interest in CDMA. Dominant operator China Telecom reportedly has conducted CDMA trials in four Mainland cities in conjunction with the country's armed forces, the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

According to Zhu, the PRC government is looking at how to allow the PLA and commercial operators to jointly develop CDMA networks and meet the PLA's needs for mobile telecommunications, the report said.

However, the Central Military Commission has decided that the PLA must break links with enterprises under its control and that the PLA cannot involve itself in any commercial activities or run any enterprises, the report said.

In response to a question on the participation of private enterprises in the telecommunications sector, Zhu confirmed that China would allow domestic private firms to offer telecom services, the report said.

Qualcomm Inc., which is working with Unicom on its CDMA rollout, had never received word from Beijing on a cancellation or delay in the project, according to spokeswoman Christine Trimble. Recent reports have been positive, Trimble said in response to a query.

Qualcomm is in San Diego and can be reached at +1-858-587-1121, or online at