BlackBerry Arrives in China
HONG KONG, China – Research in Motion (RIM) is finalizing a deal with China Mobile to offer BlackBerry devices in China. The devices will be customized for the Chinese 3G market with a TD-SCDMA radio.
Providing devices for the Chinese is challenging due to the compatibility (or lack thereof), with the rest of the world. Most of the world is standardized on the GSM/EDGE/GPRS protocol or the CDMA protocol.
GSM is Time Division Multiple access, slicing up time to provide each user a portion of the period, sort of like a serial connection. CDMA is Code Division Multiple Access, using a different code template in the same time slice to access users, analogous to a parallel connection.
China Mobile decided to compromise and take a little of each in a different standard (TD-SCDMA) which is not compatible with either GSM or CDMA. As an equipment supplier, adaptation to the Chinese standard is required. This was done partially to give Chinese companies a head start, and to block outsiders from coming in.
As we reported last month, China Unicom launched the iPhone, and other Asian markets have been penetrated by RIM.
With more than one billion in population, in a captive market China is very attractive to RIM and others as a growth market.