Asia Express - Mobile Communications
3G/4G Development in China May 16-22
May 20, 2011

- China Mobile announced on May 19 that the company is projected to begin promotions of its 4G network on a large-scale based on its homebrewed LTE technology, dubbed TD-LTE (Time Division-Long Term Evolution), which is a TDD (Time Division Duplex) version of LTE, in 2014, the Xinhua News reported on May 20. In addition, China Mobile revealed that the company and Apple already entered a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Apple, under which Apple's iPhone 5, due to be sold in China in the second half of 2011, will support China Mobile's TD-LTE technology, according to the same source. Further details, were not yet disclosed. However, it is projected that the agreement between China Mobile and Apple will be finalized around September 2011, according to the Sina Tech News on May 17, adding that three leading Chinese telecom operators have exhibited their common interest in selling iPhone 5.

China Mobile plans to set up over 40 demonstration networks and an additional of 20,000 TD-LTE base stations worldwide in 2012 alone, with the number of base stations expected to total 60,000 in 2013. Currently, China Mobile has been conducting TD-LTE network trials in seven cities in China such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Xiamen.
China Mobile recently also announced that the company is projected to begin R&D for testing equipment based on TD-LTE in 2012, the, reported on May 19. To date, LTE and 802.16m are regarded as two mainstream mobile standards by many operators and manufacturers, while LTE is the enhanced version of the 3GPP LTE and 802.16m is the latest version of WiMAX (Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access).
- China Unicom confirmed on May 17 that the company launched the first phase of its HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access Advanced) service in 56 cities in China as planned, the reported. The HSPA service is capable of delivering up to 21 Mbps downlink speed, along with corresponding data cards to support such service.
Meanwhile, China Unicom recently also announced that the company currently has been conducting field tests for its dual carrier HSPA+ network in five cities in China, including Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, and Tianjin, in a bid to prepare for the next phase of HSPA+ network commercialization, the Sina Tech News reported on May 16. It is learnt that five telecom equipment suppliers separately participated in the abovementioned field tests, including Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell, with a downlink speed of up to 42 Mbps being achieved, according to the same source. To date, a total of 23 double-carrier HSPA+ networks supporting a 42Mbps downlink speed have begun commercialization worldwide and 36 such networks are projected to be set up. In addition, of the total 144 HSPA+ end-market terminals, 30% of which support double-carrier HSPA+ networks.