China Mobile Readies 4G Standard

The telecom operator says TD-LTE network cards and wireless routers for industry applications will be available within a year.
The world's largest telecom operator, China Mobile, said it would be ready to commercialize its 4G standard within 6-12 months.

"From conception to production, TD-LTE has only taken two years" said Bill Huang, of the China Mobile Research Institute. Earlier this week, China Mobile demonstrated TD-LTE network data cards made by Samsung, Innofidei, Sequans and Ericsson at the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) meeting in Shanghai.

According to Jiang Guowei, also of the China Mobile Research Institute, three of these cards have already been tested in the world's first TD-LTE demonstration network which went live on April 15 at the World Expo site in Shanghai.

These field tests have so far shown downlink speeds of up to 20Mbps with uplink speeds of between 5Mbps and 6Mbps. It is believed that these speeds will be able to support 24 simultaneous high definition video streams, which would be ideal for video conferencing.

Huang added that by the end of the year China Mobile will have brought together all of its partners in the industry to introduce a variety of TD-LTE capable products including network cards, wireless routers and several products suitable for industry applications.

However, Huang acknowledged that the chipsets and equipment are yet to reach the maturity required for consumer products. Jiang agreed that at present a number of problems need to be resolved, not least of which is reducing the size of devices to make them more appealing to the end user.

Though TD-LTE may soon be ready for early stage rollout, it's uncertain how aggressively China Mobile will do so. China is currently in the early stage of a nationwide ramp of its 3G system and regulators will be cautious about how and when the country makes another round of investment in 4G.

However, China Mobile is eager to leapfrog to 4G because its 3G-based TD-SCDMA standard is much less mature than CDMA EVDO and W-CDMA. An early jump into 4G may help it get a leg up against its rivals, which started to steal market share once 3G was introduced.

Editor's Choice
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
Roger Burkhardt, Capital Markets Chief Technology Officer, Broadridge Financial Solutions
Shane Snider, Senior Writer, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author