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Trials planned for TD-LTE

2011-03-08 09:20

Trials planned for TD-LTE

A China Mobile logo at an exhibition in Beijing. China Mobile will set up more than 1,000 base stations in seven cities this year for a TD-LTE test, according to a statement of the company. [Photo / China Daily]

China's new 4G telecommunications standard to be tested in seven cities

BEIJING - China Mobile Communications Co, the parent of world's largest telecom carrier by subscriber numbers, said on Monday that seven major Chinese cities will run a commercial trial of the TD-LTE network by the second quarter of 2012.

TD-LTE, which stands for Time Division-Long Term Evolution technology, is the next generation (4G) telecommunication standard that has been in development by China Mobile since late 2007. The technology can easily reach a download speed of more than 100 megabytes a second, according to China Mobile.

The seven cities are Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen. All started wide-ranging tests of TD-LTE technology in January.

China Mobile says it will set up more than 1,000 base stations in those seven cities this year to conduct the test.

In addition, TD-LTE data cards - a wireless device that enables Internet surfing - will be available in the seven cities as early as the second half of this year, with a speed of more than 100 megabytes a second, ten times faster than 3G data cards.

The company said the TD-LTE data card can support the transmission of large amounts of data, such as high-definition online meetings.

It also added that a procurement program for TD-LTE trial terminals will begin soon.

"In order to create conditions for the upcoming commercial use of TD-LTE, we will endeavor to perform well in the seven cities' tests," said Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile Communications Co.

He made the comments on the sidelines of the ongoing Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference session, the nation's top advisory body.

"I hope the Chinese government will draw up the development plans for TD-LTE as soon as possible, to send a clear signal to the market and help domestic and overseas resources to flow into the TD-LTE industry," Wang told China Daily.

Compared with TD-SCDMA, the homegrown telecommunication standard for the 3G era, TD-LTE technology has truly opened a "global market" for China Mobile, Wang added.

Foreign telecom giants such as Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent, plus domestic companies such as Huawei, ZTE and Datang, have participated in technical trials of the technology with China Mobile since the end of 2008.

China Mobile has signed agreements with nine international telecom carriers to help deploy 27 TD-LTE trial networks worldwide, according to the company's statement.

The North American market, which is usually difficult for Chinese telecom companies to enter, has delivered some good news, according to Bill Huang, president of China Mobile's research institute. Without giving a timeframe, Huang said Sprint/Clearwire and Light Squared have announced they will adopt TD-LTE.

However, Wu Hequan, director-general of the China Communications Standards Association, said there is still a long way to go before TD-LTE becomes commercially viable in China.

"Firstly, the chips for TD-LTE mobile phones are not mature," Wu said. "The second reason is that the TD-LTE market is not ready, as few new mobile applications for the technology are emerging at the moment."

"If we adopt TD-LTE too early, it may have a negative impact on domestic telecom companies which are currently expending great efforts in developing the 3G network now," Wu said.

Chang Xiaobing, the chairman of China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd, said China Unicom will follow the long-term evolution route of a separate 3G standard called WCDMA, which has led to the development of a 4G version called FDD technology.

"Though China Unicom has started testing the 4G technology, I still think it's not time for a discussion of the use of commercial 4G now," Chang told China Daily.

"What we care about now is whether we meet consumer demands in the 3G era," he said.

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