Business / Industries

Hong Kong launch site for dual-mode 4G network

By Shen Jingting in Hong Kong (China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-19 11:59

China Mobile Hong Kong Co Ltd, the Hong Kong subsidiary of China Mobile Ltd, has announced the launch of a fourth-generation, or 4G, dual-mode network in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

The mobile network will use both TD-LTE, or time-division long-term evolution, and FDD-LTE, or frequency division duplex long-term evolution, technologies. It is expected to provide experience that might prove useful in China Mobile's current large-scale trials of a 4G network on the Chinese mainland.

That, in turn, will help promote the development of the global TD-LTE industry, said Tiger Lin, chairman of China Mobile Hong Kong on Tuesday.

"In addition, Hong Kong will be the first place to offer LTE roaming services to the Chinese mainland," Lin said.

In July, China Mobile Hong Kong selected ZTE Corp and Telefon AB LM Ericsson to build a network that integrates LTE FDD and TD-LTE technologies in Hong Kong.

The network will bring together China Mobile Hong Kong's current LTE FDD network with a new 2300 MHz TD-LTE band, increasing the network's capacity and helping to ensure the rising demand for mobile data traffic can be met, the company said.

TD-LTE is a 4G wireless network standard that was developed in China. It and LTE FDD have become the two main international LTE standards.

In the Hong Kong project, ZTE is supplying the equipment needed for the network in the city's primary commercial areas and Ericsson is undertaking the work in the remaining places.

China Mobile Hong Kong said the converged network service will be introduced in phases, with the first phase only available to selected commercial customers.

By September, Hong Kong subscribers to mobile services were using about 667 megabytes of data a month on average, Lin said.

"We have seen a flood of mobile data," Lin said. "It's the simple truth that telecom network capacity just isn't sufficient to meet that demand."

Hong Kong's combined 4G network is the first commercial TD-LTE network that China Mobile has set up and operated, and it will play an essential role in the company's plans to promote TD-LTE technology both at home and abroad, industry experts said.

"The Hong Kong case demonstrates that it is practical to deploy a converged network that combines two mainstream 4G technologies," Zhang Jianguo, vice-president of ZTE, said at a Hong Kong news briefing.

China Mobile, the world's biggest telecom operator by subscriber numbers, is conducting large scale TD-LTE trials in 13 Chinese cities. The company aims to establish at least 200,000 TD-LTE base stations by 2013.

In November, 360 telecom carriers across the world were investing in LTE networks and 113 commercial LTE networks were operating in 51 countries, according to a report from the industry organization Global mobile Suppliers Association. Among them, 11 were TD-LTE commercial networks.

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