China is on the move. Earlier this year we’ve seen China Telecom (CDMA 2000) striking a series of deal with Nokia to carry the Lumia family, and China Unicom (WCDMA) following the example. Now China Mobile, the last (and biggest) Chinese mobile carrier is on the move to join the Windows Phone family too.
The reason why China Mobile has been holding back so far is probably because of its funny network. The Chinese government was following a guideline like “Let’s get a bit of everything! The more the merrier!” at the start of the 3G era. So it assigned a different 3G network to each of its beloved sons:
China Telecom got CDMA 2000: It’s nice and all, but since CDMA 2000 phonese elsewhere don’t have USIM slots, but China Telecom’s service is entirely USIM cards-based, it’s very hard to use a smuggled phone on its network.
China Unicom got WCDMA: The most popular form of 3G worldwide. Unicom has been under rapid growth since the coming of 3G, because it’s super duper friendly to smuggled phones. Bought an AT&T branded Samsung Focus? T-Mobile HTC HD7? Orange Samsung Omnia 7? Worry not. Shove in a USIM card from Unicom and just using it.
China Mobile got… TD-SCDMA: A Chinese homegrown 3G standard following the idea “We can’t let the evil capitalists control all our technology or we are DOOMED!”. Nicknamed “TD”, this boy is completely incompatible with CDMA 2000 or WCDMA. Manufactuers need to build special models for China Mobile, and very few of them are willing to do that. For this very reason China Mobile failed to get the iPhone… and many other hot phones.
But finally, China Mobile is about to shake off TD-SCDMA by initiating 4G communications in China. And part of the plan is to adopt 4G-enabled Windows Phone 8 devices. According to WPDang’s sources at China Mobile, the carrier is planning to strike a deal with ONE Windows Phone 8 manufactuer, and purchase TWO models as part of its showcase projects for TD-LTE in 2013.
Three out of the initial four Windows Phone 8 OEMS (Nokia, Huawei, ZTE) have played roles in the invention of TD-LTE. So it’s a bit hard to say which is more likely to be the Chosen One. But anyway, Windows Phone aboarding all Chinese carriers is a great milestone by itself.