ChinaTel planning 29-market fixed WiMAX deployment in China

ChinaTel Group is working with CECT-Chinacomm Communications to deploy a WiMAX network in the 3.5 GHz band across 29 markets in China, including large population areas such as Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Chinatel's Kenneth Hoobs, vice president of mergers and acquisitions for ChinaTel, told RCR Wireless News that the company has 20 megahertz of spectrum, which could increase in the future thanks to the Chinese government. ChinaTel is under a government mandate to deploy 12 markets by June 2011. The company has already finished construction on three network operating centers and three switches, and construction of the network in the remaining 17 markets will likely begin in 2014.

The company already has a presence in China via WiFi deployments in Beijing to support the 2008 Olympics. ChinaTel was then contracted through its partnership with CECT-Chinacomm to begin building a fixed WiMAX network using spectrum granted by the government. Today, ChinaTel said it has has between 400,000 and 500,000 people paying for access to its WiFi network that covers parts of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Last week ChinaTel signed an MoU with Chinese vendor ZTE to make that supplier the preferred infrastructure provider of equipment, operational services and financing for the wireless broadband networks ChinaTel is planning for not only China but Peru and other markets. ChinaTel recently acquired a 95 percent stake in Peruvian telecom provider Perusat S.A., which holds 2.5 GHz spectrum licenses covering portions of Peru.

ChinaTel may be deploying the fixed version of WiMAX, but the company has indicated it can upgrade rather easily to the mobile version of the standard and also move to LTE as a network overlay or a side-by-side addition to the WiMAX network pending government approval of course.

For more:
- see this RCR Wireless News article

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