China Mobile is moving closer to a commercial launch of TD-LTE, with the launch of a second trial of the 4G technology.
The country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers has moved to running large-scale commercial services on its TD-LTE network, and plans to demonstrate the set up in key areas of Beijing, including the financial district and university areas.
In addition, the firm has signed a cooperation agreement with the Shenzhen Government to jointly launch a "Smart Shenzhen" broadband wireless city project, under which TD-LTE will be deployed to offer a range of wireless applications such as intelligent traffic, e-government and digital medical care.
The second round of trials will be completed in June 2012, at which time there should be sufficient handsets to enable a commercial launch, Bill Huang, general manager of the firm’s Research Institute, says.
“Next year we will see data terminals in mass production, and the commercial launch of multi-mode handsets, which are expected [to be] in large volume supply in 2012,” Huang notes.
China Mobile’s 4G ambitions have been lifted by a successful first phase trial of TD-LTE, which covered six major cities with over 850 base stations. Huang says Huawei and ZTE were among ten infrastructure vendors that participated in the initial test, which “met the target LTE requirements.”
Six chipset vendors were also involved in phase one, highlighting growing support for TD-LTE. Huang notes development of the technology is gathering pace, with 30 trial networks launched in Asia, Europe and North America, and three commercial networks.
In 2012, the number of trial networks is tipped to hit 40, and commercial networks ten.