Asia Express - Mobile Communications
3G/4G Development in China May 23-29
May 27, 2011

- China has begun the pilot-scale testing of its TD-LTE (Time Division-Long Term Evolution) network in six cities, in which the TD-LTE coverage has been completed and the first base station has begun operation, the Sina Tech News reported on May 27. Eleven telecom equipment suppliers and two chipmakers have been participating in the pilot-scale testing phase, which is the final phase of TD-LTE testing program. The program has been divided into three phases including the proof of concept phase, the R&D experimental phase and the pilot-scale testing phase. It is projected that the pilot-scale testing for China Mobile's TD-LTE network will officially begin across China at late May, 2011. According to the original plan set by China Mobile and China Academy of Telecommunication Research of MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology), a total of at least 3,400 base stations will be set up during the second phase, 530 base stations of which will be each deployed in Nanjing and Hungzhou, 710 base stations of which will be each set up in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, and in Xiamen, an additional of 240 base stations will be built aside from 110 base stations deployed during the first phase, according to the same source.

- China Telecom's chairman Wang Xiaochu said on May 20 that the company is in talks with Apple over introducing CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access)-based iPhone in China, according to Reuters. Currently, China Unicom, with 886 million mobile phone subscribers, is the sole operator to offer iPhone in China. It is reported that the exclusive agreement between China Unicom and Apple will be expired in 2011. As of April 2011, China Telecom had a mobile phone subscriber base of 103.1 million, 17.84 million of which were 3G subscribers, according to Reuters again. Wang, however, declined to reveal any further details regarding the possible tie-up.