Posted by: China Media LAB on Jun 29, 2012
THE first 4G mobile phone based on homegrown technology is expected to debut in Shanghai in the first half of next year, when commercial use of 4G services will have begun, China Mobile said yesterday.
China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile operator with around 700 million subscribers, has established a TD-LTE (time division-long term evolution) network covering areas within the Inner Ring Road in Shanghai, to provide much faster network speeds. "We will provide TD-LTE handsets and related services next year," Mao Weiliang, Shanghai Mobile's vice general manager of data services division, said during the annual Shanghai Telecommunications Conference.
China Mobile is pushing the development of its own 4G technology, which is five to 10 times faster than the current 3G network, to improve the mobile broadband experience and fuel the nation's economy by attracting investment.
China Mobile has begun commercial 4G services in Hangzhou but is only providing data cards at present. There are no TD-LTE phones ready for the market.
It plans to build TD-LTE networks in 13 cities nationwide by the end of this year, including Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and Shenzhen.
The 3G and coming 4G networks will improve mobile Internet quality and relieve pressure on mobile carriers, which face surging data traffic demand, industry insiders said.
More than 80 percent of Shanghai Mobile's 20 million users use their handsets to access the Internet, and use 50 megabytes data traffic every month on average.
China Unicom's Shanghai branch has 1.18 million 3G users in the city, using 207 megabytes every month.
China Mobile's total user data consumption jumped more than 50 percent annually in the past years, Xi said.
China has set TD-LTE as a strategic industry to develop because the homegrown 3G network will evolve into the 4G network, according to Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice director of the National Development and Reform Commission. But the industry still needs more investment in chips, software and global expansion, Zhang said.
Laurence Ding, NEC China's carrier network operation's general manager, said: "Besides the latest trials in China, TD-LTE has become an international standard for 4G with overseas adoption,"
NEC has also developed equipment supporting both TD-LTE and Western LTE technologies, Ding said.
By June 1, operators had launched a total of nine commercial networks in overseas markets including Japan, Sweden and India, according to the Global TD-LTE Initiative, a telecom industry alliance.