Engineers and scientists in China have developed the country's first third-generation mobile chip, as the telecoms industry waits to see which 3G standard the Chinese government chooses.
According to the Xinhua news agency, China's Southeast University and Dongda Communication have jointly developed the WCDMA chip, called Noah 3000. They claim that it meets the international standards for WCDMA, the 3G standard that is being deployed in Europe.
With a population of 1.3 billion, China is a massive market for mobile operators. The Chinese government is expected to issue the country's first licences for 3G in the first half of 2006, and it could force operators to use its own 3G standard, called TD-SCDMA, rather than an existing standard.
By developing its own standard, China could avoid paying billions of pounds in royalties.
In November 2004, a government trial concluded that TD-SCDMA was not ready for commercial use. At present, while TD-SCDMA supports telephone calls and text messaging it does not support 3G services such as video calls.
But late last year, the TD-SCDMA forum told Chinese journalists that the remaining technological hurdles would be cleared "in the next couple of months".