China's telecom official: Network may be busy but not paralysed during Olympics

2008-07-17 12:32:05 GMT       2008-07-17 20:32:05 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Beijing's telecom network may be busy during the coming Olympic Games but will not be paralysed, said a senior Chinese telecom official here Thursday.

When asked whether the mobile phone network would work if the 100,000 audience at the Bird's Nest made phone calls at the same time during the opening ceremony of the Olympics, Chinese Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xi Guohua admitted at a press conference that the network was likely to go through temporary congestion.

"Although China Netcom and China Mobile (two major telecom operators) have greatly expanded the capacity, we could not guarantee that the network will operate at any minute but it will by no means be paralysed," Xi said.

He also expressed strong confidence in the third generation (3G) wireless mobile services to be operated during the Olympics, which adopts China's homemade communication standard called TD-SCDMA.

"The technology has been ready for commercial operation," Xi said. Its network has covered 95 percent of the present mobile phone network.

China Mobile has started trial operation of the 3G service in ten cities including all Olympic host and co-host cities.

Through this latest telecom technology, people could make video calls and watch TV programs on 3G handsets.

"If foreigners would like to enjoy these services, they could rent 3G handsets from China Mobile," Xi said.

There are three different standards of 3G wireless mobile services worldwide including TD-SCDMA. Handsets under the other two standards will not work in China.

About 96 to 97 percent of the demand for radio frequency will be met during the Games, said Zhang Shengli, director of the radio department under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, at the same conference.

The department has received about 8,140 applications for using radio frequency from media, security departments and sport event control and command centers. About 7,000 of them have been passed, he said. "We can promise all radio devices will work well and safely during the Games."

Telecom authorities have made contingency plans. Once any emergency happens to phone or Internet service, the authorities will mobilize backup satellite and microwave services to restore communication at the earliest time, Xi said.

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