Home / Blogs

China: We Lead 3GPP Wireless Standards

Huawei, Intel and Deutsche Telekom announcing the completion of the world’s first 5G interoperability test. Photo: HuaweiIn 2018, nothing can get approved in 3GPP that China strongly opposes. In the past, 3GPP often was a battle between a few American giants and their European peers. A Qualcomm or a Nokia will still be heard, but the power has shifted. I haven’t seen evidence that the Chinese influence has made for better or worse standards.

There are now over a billion 4G subscribers at the big 3 Chinese telcos, by far the largest equipment buyers. Nokia, Ericsson, and the other vendors do not dare oppose their largest customers. Qualcomm, which sends 60 people to 3PPP, has been in crisis as the Chinese have held up their $44B purchase of NXP. The stock dropped $10B after the 4/16 ZTE incident.

Huawei and ZTE each have thousands of patents in wireless and submit hundreds of proposals in standards. OF Week reports:

“There are more than 30 Chinese people holding key positions in the standards organization, voting power exceeds 23%, the number of contributions is 30%, and lead projects account for 40%.”

Some 3GPP working groups have open mailing lists, where I see Chinese submissions are ubiquitous.

The Chinese companies are now working together closely, under public pressure. $50B Lenovo makes phones as well as computers and made the mistake of supporting a Qualcomm proposal over a Chinese one. They have been eviscerated as “unpatriotic” by the Chinese press and made a public statement they have changed their vote.

Edison Lee at Jefferies reckons Chinese could capture up to 20 percent of essential 5G patents. That would make them the most important force in this generation of technology,

ITU standards are dominated by CJK, China, Japan, and Korea. I’m on the U.S. State Department ITAC, where CJK majorities at ITU meetings are common. The United States under Trump has been speaking out on the U.S. role in standards. The U.S. blocking of Broadcom/Qualcomm was justified as “protecting American leadership in standards.” All governments lie, but I think this claim was strictly ignorance.

In the last ten years, the U.S. has become a secondary player in standards.

For anyone still doubting the ability of China to take a lead in telecom, here’s a recent award. The panel was distinguished and largely from Europe and the U.S.

By Dave Burstein, Editor, DSL Prime

Dave Burstein has edited DSL Prime and written about broadband and Internet TV for a decade.

Visit Page

Filed Under


Comment Title:

  Notify me of follow-up comments

We encourage you to post comments and engage in discussions that advance this post through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can report it using the link at the end of each comment. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of CircleID. For more information on our comment policy, see Codes of Conduct.

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet



IPv4 Markets

Sponsored byIPv4.Global


Sponsored byVerisign

Threat Intelligence

Sponsored byWhoisXML API

New TLDs

Sponsored byRadix


Sponsored byDNIB.com

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign

Brand Protection

Sponsored byCSC