Sales of cellphones using China's own 3G standard (TD-SCDMA) will grow 7-fold this year, boosted by China Mobile's push of new phones and services, research firm Strategy Analytics said on Monday.
The research firm did not unveil total sales estimates, but China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator by subscribers, has said it had 3.4 million clients using its TD-SCDMA network last year when it opened the service.
The technology's teething problems, along with a lack of product offerings, have been major factors inhibiting the development of a national TD-SCDMA network by China Mobile.
Seven-fold growth from 3.4 million would result in total TD-SCDMA phone sales comparable with sales of Apple iPhones in 2009, and well ahead of Microsoft Windows phones sold by all manufacturers in total last year.
Despite China's efforts to promote a homegrown 3G wireless standard to the rest of the world, the new technology is late to the party.
In Europe and North America, many operators committed to 3G network technologies 10 years ago and will not be keen to replace their networks, which have cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
China Mobile's marketing push is set to make TD-SCDMA one of the fastest growing mobile technologies in the world, and make China an important 3G market, the research firm said.
China Mobile said last month it would spend 45 billion yuan ($6.6 billion) to extend its 3G coverage and roll out more than 80 TD-SCDMA handset models to address market concerns about its lukewarm 3G push.
Strategy Analytics said Nokia, Samsung Electronics, ZTE, Huawei, MediaTek, ST-Ericsson and Spreadtrum were to benefit from the growth of TD-SCDMA.
Nokia has a lone product working on TD-SCDMA, but the company is working to expand the offering, a senior Nokia official told Reuters last week.
(Editing by Mike Nesbit)