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Guangzhou is likely to become the first city nationwide to experience the 4G network through mobile devices.
The 4G commercial trial will be extended to Guangzhou and Shenzhen this week, offering users tailor-made Samsung Galaxy S3 phones that support the indigenous TD-LTE technology, according to a post on the China Mobile Group Guangdong Co Ltd's micro blog. Customers will have to sign a 388 yuan ($62) monthly contract for the service.
Withan investment of 20 billion yuan, Guangzhou will build an extensive TD-LTE network to cover the city by 2015, marking the biggest such infrastructure development nationwide, according to an agreement between the Guangzhou municipal government and the carrier's Guangdong company.
Other cities are closely following the 4G roadmap as China Mobile rolls out its test runs this year.
Shanghai will begin 4G commercial trials with the debut of 4G-enabled handsets as early as April, according to China Mobile's Shanghai branch.
These 4G models will support the homegrown TD-LTE technology, a 4G standard adopted by the world's largest mobile phone carrier. They can offer five to 10 times faster Internet access than 3G phones. But the company has yet to finalize a plan for charges for such services.
The carrier has deployed 4G signals to cover the most densely populated urban distracts such as People's Square and Lujiazui in Shanghai. By the end of the year, it plans to blanket the city's Inner Ring Road area, or the downtown area, with some 700 4G base stations, the company said.
As part of the marketing effort, the operator last year transformed a Shanghai city bus route into a "4G City Experience", so that passengers could sample the network's speeds through WiFi.
In February, China Mobile extended its 4G network trial to Wenzhou and Hangzhou, where users can sign up for data services on the experimental 4G network with the aid of MiFi or CPE, both Internet surfing gadgets that transform 4G signals into WiFi.
(China Daily 02/27/2013 page13)