Author Archive

518 Million

December 21, 2009

518M is the number of subscribers China Mobile currently has. To put that in perspective that’s over 60% more than Vodafone‘s 323M – the next biggest, and over two and a half times that of Telefonica, the 3rd biggest operator in the world. That’s a pretty significant market for anyone who’s anything to do with mobile therefore, and don’t forget that that’s purely a domestic market.

The news that senior representatives from China Mobile came to London to visit Symbian and put pen to paper on a MoU between our two organisations is certainly not insignificant.

China Mobile - Symbian MoU Signing

What, however, has that got to do with connectivity (more than any other operator that is)? The answer is TD-SCDMA – a 3G telephony standard was, until now, one of the lesser user parts of the 3GPP specification. I say “until now” because the licensing regulators in China have assigned their three national operators three different telephony standards: China Unicom – FD-WCDMA (3G as we know it in Europe, Japan and most of the world); China Telecom – CDMA2000 (3G as used throughout widely in the US); China Mobile – yes, you’ve guessed it – TD-SCDMA.


So what is TD-SCDMA? Like other UMTS technologies it uses a Wideband-CDMA mechanism to communicate, but whereas the predominant UMTS technology separates the uplink and downlink channels by transmitting them on different frequencies (Frequency Division) China Mobile’s radio technology separates them in time instead (Time Division). Additionally, the “S” in TD-SCDMA means that the radio signals are transmitted synchronously between the mobile and base-station (to allow for better interference rejection from other users). There are a number of pros and cons to using this mechanism, but overall these differences aren’t what’s relevant – what is, however, is that it means a whole new set of modems and software for mobile devices.

So what does it mean for Symbian – well fortunately the Symbian architecture was pretty well thought out from the start to enable maximum flexibility for future technologies – let’s face it, 3G didn’t even exist when the telephony subsystem (ETel) was first conceived.

I’ve been in Beijing and Shanghai in the last few weeks following up with a number of companies working with Symbian and TD-SCDMA including T3G (a subsidiary of one our board members: ST-Ericsson) and Nokia’s TD team who not long ago launched the first open TD-SCDMA device – running Symbian. On Friday they announced a long-term partnership for TD-SCDMA on Symbian.

Nokia 6788

So, Symbian is ready for TD-SCDMA – what’s next? Well we’re looking to get contributions of the telephony adaptation code from a number of TD-modem makers so OEMs can easily integrate TD-SCDMA into their devices, ready to target those 518M subscribers.


So what is Symbian Connectivity?

November 11, 2009

This is the blog for the connectivity technology team in Symbian. There are three important questions to answer initially: Who are we; What do we mean by connectivity and What do we do?

Who are we?

We’re part of the Technology Management team at the Symbian Foundation. At the moment the team consists of Tom Pritchard, Richard Collins and Gaurav Katyal.

What do we mean by connectivity

Connectivity relates to all the technologies involved in communicating with people and services outside of the mobile device. In Symbian terms this means the following technology domains:

What do we do?

Our role is to shape and manage the direction of the connectivity technologies in Symbian and their interaction with the rest of the platform. Our goals are to build Symbian into the most complete, competitive and open platform available and to ensure that a large and healthy community thrives around it. How do we actually do that:

  • By working with the Symbian community to understand their needs and drive the technology forward.
  • We work with members who are interested in contributing, helping them through the process.
  • Derive the roadmaps and set out the strategy for the connectivity technology.
  • Engage with the community to help foster their ideas and see them realised in the platform

We are all about engagement with the rest of the community so please hook up with us to discuss the future of the platform. You can find us in the forums and mail lists or contact us direct.