China Mobile said Friday it will start large-scale testing of a domestically developed TD-LTE technology, having received approval from regulators. The six cities involved in the large-scale TD-LTE pilot are Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Xiamen using more than 3000 base-stations.
China Mobile, under a mandate by the Chinese government, developed a local Chinese 3G standard called TD-SCDMA, which combined elements of CDMA on an unpaired (single) frequency. TD-LTE is a variant of the Long Term Evolution standard that generally uses paired frequencies.
TD-LTE is now recognized by the ITU as an official standard and it may dominate that other huge telecommunications market – India.
China Mobile hopes its early moves will help prevent TD-LTE being seen as a secondary, poor relation in the LTE ecosystem, as TD-SCDMA has been in 3G, leading to a shortage of devices and applications.
The Telecommunications industry in China is dominated by three state-run mobile operators. A fierce battle for 3G market share is now underway between the three main operators: China Mobile (using TD-SCDMA), China Unicom (using WCDMA) and China Telecom (using EV-DO 3G). China Unicom added over a million 3G users in the past two months, lower than bigger rival China Mobile with 1.7 million users added in October. China Mobile is the world’s biggest phone carrier by subscribers and was assigned TD-SCDMA (now an international standard).
China currently has the most cell phone users in the world with over 800 million users in July 2010. China Mobile’s subscriber base has now passed the 575 million, while Unicom has more than 160 million customers. China also has the largest number of internet and broadband users in the world. China Telecom and China Unicom, combined, account for 20% of global broadband subscribers.
But the total number of 3G subscribers in China was only 38 million by the end of October 2010. China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom only launched their respective 3G networks in January 2009. Compared to other countries, China’s 3G — and 4G — growth is anticipated to be spectacular.
China’s telecommunications regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, will plan and organize the testing. China Mobile will be responsible for network construction, operation maintenance, examination and testing of technological products, it said in a statement.
In January 2009 China took the unusual step of assigning licences for 3 different 3G mobile phone standards to its three huge mobile phone operators, prompting some $41 billion in spending on new equipment.
China Unicom – the country’s second largest operator – has cut the minimum monthly fee for its 3G service by more than half, reports Bloomberg. The company chopped prices for its lowest monthly 3G (WCDMA) service to CNY46 (US$6.90).
Ericsson says that mobile data traffic surpassed voice traffic for the first time in December 2009. Although twenty-two carriers plan to roll-out LTE commercially this year, data over LTE remains the only service offered. No voice. The industry still lacks a clear strategy for supporting voice over LTE.
Related LTE stories on Dailywireless include; China: The Big Picture, China Mobile: Slow TD-SCDMA Sales , World’s First TD-LTE Data Call, End Near for Indian WiMAX?, Internet Traffic: 18 Minute Gap?, LTE Vs WiMAX in Asia: World War IV?, Age of Exascale, LTE in Japan by December, ZTE Criticized, Big Contracts for Alcatel-Lucent, 3G Launches in India, Qualcomm India: For Sale?, Qualcomm Gets Indian Partners, Vendors Scramble for Indian Backhaul, India’s Broadband Auction: It’s Done, LTE-TDD & WiMAX: Two Peas in a Pod? Indian 3g/4g Auction: Qualcomm Bidding TD-LTE, LTE Migration White Paper, LTE: Wait For ItBlowback on 2.6 GHz, LTE: Cox Cable Calling, LTE Phones to be Showcased at MWC, T-Mobile USA Merger? and Solutions Promoted for Voice over LTE.