China Issues TD-LTE Licenses

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology today issued licenses for the TD-LTE standard to the country’s three carriers, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

China, the world’s biggest smartphone market, has some 1.2 billion mobile users as of the end of October. China Mobile is the world’s largest cellular provider with 759 million subscribers, or 62.3 percent of the Chinese market. China Unicom is the second-largest with 22.6 percent of total users, while China Telecom has 15.1 percent.

China Mobile got access to 130MHz of spectrum, reports Unwired View, (in the 1880 -1900 MHz, 2320-2370 MHz, and 2575-2635 MHz bands). China Unicom will get 40MHz (2300-2320 MHz and 2555-2575 MHz bands), while China Telecom will also have 40MHz (2370-2390 MHz and 2635-2655 MHz bands) for their homegrown TD-LTE offerings.

4G licenses for FDD LTE services for China Unicom and Telecom will be issued separately. China Telecom said it will apply for a LTE FDD license once available. The carrier currently uses CDMA2000 3G networks, and has said in the past it would prefer to upgrade to LTE FDD technology.

China Mobile’s 3G subscribers, using TD-SCDMA, accounted for just 23 percent of its total subscribers as of the end of October. That’s a much lower 3G adoption rate than the 42 and 54 percent for China Unicom and China Telecom, which use CDMA and GSM 3G standards. The globally adopted TD-LTE standard is expected to stimulate 4G wireless broadband growth throughout China and stimulate other markets world-wide.

For now, China is only issuing the licenses to operate LTE TDD networks, and not its other variant LTE FDD (frequency division duplex), a 4G standard in popular use in the U.S. The government said it would still need to test the LTE Frequency Division technology before it issues the other licenses.

China Unicom and China Telecom both carry the iPhone, but China Mobile’s handsets have been at a disadvantage without an iPhone capable of using TD-SCDMA (3G) or TD-LTE (4G) data. Apple is expected to announce a deal with China Mobile soon.

According to the Wall Street Journal, China Mobile has signed a deal to carry the iPhone on its network. The deal with China Mobile, expected to be announced on December 18, would give Apple access to a subscriber base that is seven times the size of Verizon Wireless, the U.S.’s largest carrier.

TD-LTE, of course, uses a single radio channel for both up and downstream (like WiFi). Frequency division uses paired channels, dedicating two radio channels, one for “talking” and one for “listening”.

Since two-way voice now uses only a tiny percentage of cellular capacity, the efficiency of using dynamically assigned asymmetrical (TD) links for downstream (or upstream) makes more sense, especially in high-density urban centers.

China Mobile is planning to officially launch TD-LTE services in 2014. Ericsson the world’s largest cellular infrastructure provider, will deploy TD-LTE network in 15 provinces in mainland China for China Mobile. Ericsson will provide radio access network, Evolved Packet Core and upgrade and expand the installed base. The EPC is the core network of an LTE radio system, relying entirely on Internet Protocol (IP) packet switching for both voice and data.

China Mobile has required chipset suppliers offer TD-LTE chips supporting five modes (LTE/LTE FDD, TD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and GSM) and also 10 operational frequency bands.

China became the leading market for smartphones in 2012. By 2016, India and Brazil will enter the top 5 markets for smartphones.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Ericsson Wins Big China Mobile TD-LTE Contract, China Mobile Getting iPhones?, China Mobile Awards Initial TD-LTE Contracts, TD-LTE Hits the China Fan, The Next Trillion, Bharti Airtel Activates TD-LTE in India, LTE-Advanced: Upsetting the Apple Cart?, China: 1 Billion Mobile Activations, India: HSPA King by 2016, India’s Broadband Auction: It’s Done,

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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