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China wants to keep up with the west by building 3G mobile phone networks. And the west is just as keen because China is expected to be the largest single market for mobile phones. With a penetration of just 15% into its massive 1.3 billion population, it has already overtaken the US in subscriber numbers. So western companies that make the wireless equipment for 3G have been watching the Chinese. government's position on standards very closely. In the autumn of 2002 it had to decide which of three competing 3G standards to support. So it chose all three. But in a clear hint as to where the Chinese government sees investment going, it gave a largely home-grown standard the lion's share of the spectrum. Compared with the 60 MHz allocated each to wideband-CDMA (W-CDMA) and cdma2000, the 155 MHz reserved for the time-division synchronised (TD-SCDMA) version of 3G represents a big gamble on a protocol that is unfinished. This has made some infrastructure equipment builders wary of spending even more on 3G R&D. Aspects of TD-SCDMA in China are discussed.