4G services could commence in 2012

Updated: 2010-12-14 10:28

By Shen Jingting (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China may start the commercial use of its homegrown fourth-generation telecommunication technology in 2012, and large-scale commercial trials will begin next year, according to officials at China Mobile, the world's largest wireless operator.

Bill Huang, general manager of the China Mobile Research Institute, said TD-LTE, the next-generation telecommunication standard that China Mobile is promoting, will see large-scale development in 2011.

"The full-scale commercial tests of TD-LTE will first be conducted in cities mainly in the Pearl and Yangtze river deltas," Huang said on the sidelines of the 2010 International Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing. However, he declined to reveal the number and names of those cities, saying it was up to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to make a decision.

Huang said some foreign carriers, such as Poland's mobile operator Aero2, seemed more eager to develop TD-LTE than China Mobile, since they had expressed an interest in opening commercial TD-LTE networks as early as 2011.

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It was the rapid development of the mobile Internet that prompted worldwide telecom operators to quicken the pace of building TD-LTE networks, Huang pointed out.

"The data explosion in the era of mobile Internet has worried telecom operators. They have to expand and upgrade the current 3G networks and start launching 4G projects," Huang said.

Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile Communications Corp, said China Mobile's strategy in facing the challenges of the mobile Internet era was to accelerate the expansion of 3G network, start commercial usage of TD-LTE and increase the coverage of the Wireless Local Area Network.

Wang said China Mobile's voice business has slowed down - since the company previously realized a year-on-year 40 percent increase from phone calls, but the figure declined to 20 percent in the past two years.

But the income from data services continues to rise for China Mobile, he said, as data revenue accounts for 30 percent of China Mobile's total sales.

"The figure is climbing and we still have room to grow, as some foreign carriers achieved a data revenue percentage of more than 50 percent," Wang said.

The increased data traffic requires an expanded network, he continued, and China Mobile will build up more than 200,000 TD-SCDMA base stations by the end of this year, allowing its network to cover all cities across China.

Wang said many international telecom operators have expressed willingness to adopt TD-LTE technology to build mobile broadband networks.

In addition to Poland's Aero2, which hoped to deploy the world's first commercial TD-LTE network in early 2011, Softbank Telecom in Japan was also interested in TD-LTE, and planned to use it to upgrade the services of Willcom Inc - a company Softbank purchased this year, according to Communications World Weekly.


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