China Mainland 4G licenses Issued— Three Operators Get TD-LTE

According to information sources, the Ministry has officially released the 4G licenses to three operators this afternoon, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom all have received TD-LTE license.

Mainland official release 4G licenses, meaning that after the 3G launched to commercial for nearly five years, three domestic telecom operators finally granted a 4G license to get a start qualification 4G commercial, the three operators will be able to achieve 4G business commercial in Mainland justifiably. These operators will thus speed up the pace of deploying 4G-related work.

In fact, before this, the three operators have invested varying degrees of resources in 4G areas. China Mobile has taken the lead in a number of cities, such as Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Beijing etc…And some of them had launched a commercial trial 4G services. It is understood that China Mobile’s next plan will expanded the cities of TD-LTE network coverage to 300 or more cities.

While China Telecom recently launched preparatory work on 4G terminal, and issued a demand books of the terminal part to the 4G mobile phone manufacturers. At present, China Telecom has completed the first LTE network equipment tender, to build a 4G Network with FDD base stations accounted 70%, TDD base stations accounted for 30%.

China Unicom launched the first LTE equipment bidding at the end of October this year, totally Purchasing 52,000 LTE base stations, including 10000 TD-LTE base stations, 34000 FDD-LTE base stations, 8000 FDD-LTE indoor stations. Meanwhile, China Unicom has a comprehensive upgrade its 3G network downlink speeds to HSPA+ 42Mbps.

It’s generally believed that the competitive landscape of the three operators in 3G era will probably be broken in the upcoming 4G era. After 4G license released, the three operators stand on the same starting line again. It says that, 4G market will be a bigger cake, the three operators who can seize the best market opportunities in the new competition, will be able to benefit from them.

In addition, after the 4G license issuance, the investment will therefore be accelerated in the entire telecommunications industry and the mobile Internet industry. Followed 4G licenses issued, mobile Internet field may also be spawned a new round of start-ups, such as high-definition video conferencing, mobile gaming, 3D navigation applications suitable for broadband mobile networks under large data will also become a reality.

However, for the majority of consumers, the 4G licensing of commercial is not equivalent to real arrival of 4G eras. It must go through a maturation process, among which there are many problems to be solved. For example, the depth of coverage of the network, the popularity and decline cost of 4G terminal, down 4G tariffs and so on.


LTE in 2013: The Top 5 predictions

While it first appeared as a live commercial network technology at the tail end of 2009, it really wasn’t until 2011 that LTE could really be called a mainstream technology. It really hit the ground in 2012 but as it stands it is only really widely deployed in North America, South Korea and Japan. In 2013 however, we expect it to truly become mainstream proposition in many countries around the world, particularly in Europe.


Here then are our Top 5 predictions for LTE in 2013.

1. LTE handsets:

With more LTE networks will inevitably come more LTE handsets. It’s fairly sound logic, but the analyst figures are there to back that up. According to Boston’s Strategy Analytics global sales of LTE smartphones will triple to 275 million handsets in 2013, up from 90 million sold in 2012. It might just be numbers but in many ways it’s quite exciting. With LTE networks and LTE handsets in people’s hands the rise of cloud services can really start to accelerate and encourage innovation as companies begin to compete for dominance in this rising space.

2.  Emergence of LTE in Africa:

One of most interesting areas for LTE in 2013 will be the emergence of the standard in Africa. That’s not to say it will hit the mainstream – anything but, but the technology will start to impact the continent. Vodacom is currently the only live service has launched in South Africa, with 70 active base stations at launch, while MTN is readying a limited launch service in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg, while Cell C has been making plans to. There are concerns such as high CAPEX costs, a lack of devices and a lack of spectrum to contend with. Nevertheless Informa Telecoms & Media is predicting 350,000 LTE subscriptions in Africa by the end of 2012. These issues and more, will be address at the LTE Africa conference, taking place on the 16th-17th July 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa.

3.  TD-LTE: Big in China

China was well known for furrowing its own path for 3G, using the TD-SCDMA standard so it would not have to be beholden to western technology standards. It’s sticking with TD for 4G, but crucially it looks as though this Time Division thing is going to be pretty popular worldwide. Sprint in the US is using it, as it P1 is Malaysia and of course as the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, anything the China Mobile uses it going to have a huge impact of economies of scale. With well over a 100 TD-LTE at the moment 2013 could be a breakthrough year for TD-LTE.


 4.   VoLTE: Only fools rush in

Using Circuit switched Fallback for voice calls when you have an LTE network is horrible from a technical purist viewpoint, but with no negative customer feedback operators are not going to hurry to introduce new technology. Just ask Verizon Wireless and EE, who have already announced that they are pushing out their timelines for the commercial deployment of VoLTE. SK Telecom and Metro PCS may have deployed but we don’t see many joining them in 2013. To quote Mark Newman, Chief Research Officer at Informa Telecoms & Media, “A business case that looks to be based solely on spectrum efficiency will struggle to gain enough executive support to justify a rushed investment plan”.


5.   LTE Small-Cell Backhaul:

Some comment from wireless infrastructure vendor Ruckus Wireless summed this up well with the following comment:

The launch of commercial 4G services from EE in October saw the UK join the LTE race. In order to achieve the network capacity required by increasing mobile data traffic, it will be necessary to augment these LTE macrocell build-outs with an underlay of small cells. This represents a new, and very significant, backhaul challenge because the mounting locations for these small cells (typically street lamps and traffic signals) are not a natural fit for fibre or microwave backhaul solutions. The optimum solution to this challenge is to use Wi-Fi in the 5GHz band to backhaul this traffic to a place where Ethernet is available. We will see lots of activity here as small cells are integrated in Wi-Fi APs, so that one unit can provide both small cells access and Wi-Fi backhaul.


Sourcing from