Europe's mobile network vendors could see a key Chinese tender for TD-LTE equipment delayed until later in the year, as China Mobile executives decide whether to upgrade from 3G or install new network equipment.
According to a report from Light Reading, the decision is crucial for vendors as an upgrade would favour incumbent TD-SCDMA vendors such as Huawei, ZTE and Datang Mobile Communications, while the installation of new equipment would allow European vendors such as Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks to compete with Chinese rivals on a more equal footing.
Light Reading notes that the tender for 200,000 base stations in 100 cities was originally scheduled for April, but is now unlikely to be issued before June. Reuters recently estimated that the deal would be worth $6.7 billion (€5.1 billion), but Light Reading noted that other estimates have been as high as $30 billion.
Ericsson has previously said it was confident it would win a larger slice of the upcoming tender for China Mobile's TD-LTE network, after it gained only an 8 per cent share in the first round of the tender last year.
While the China Mobile deal is seen as important for Europe's struggling vendors, price pressures mean that it may not generate as much revenue as hoped.
Light Reading said China Mobile has so far rolled out TD-LTE trial networks in 13 cities, with contracts awarded to Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent.
Meanwhile in a separate development in the UK, mobile infrastructure vendors could be set to benefit from plans by UK authorities to speed up the rollout of new LTE services, now that operators have secured their LTE spectrum.
Rethink Wireless said the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a new consultation document in partnership with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and proposes to relax the rules governing the building of new LTE masts and antennas in public places.
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