China Mobile promises TD-LTE tests abroad this year
Aims to expand test networks in China, but may be too late for India
Published: 7 June, 2010
The Indian BWA spectrum auction is rumbling on, with the nascent TD-LTE community hoping for a slot via Qualcomm's bid. If the new platform does get a route into the vast market, it will provide a boost for China Mobile's hopes of establishing the system - the basis of its 4G strategy - as a standard with an international ecosystem. This is something the cellco signally failed to achieve with its 3G platform TD-SCDMA, but it says it will do better with TD-LTE, and plans to create a trial network in partnership with non-Chinese operators before the end of this year.
According to China Daily, China Mobile's chairman, Wang Jianzhou, is determined to avoid being a single-operator ecosystem this time around. He claims carriers in Asia, Europe and north America have shown in interest in TD-LTE. "We will cooperate with foreign operators to develop scale TD-LTE trial networks in their countries in the second half of this year," he told journalists. Carriers that have gone public on interest in the standard include Orange.
China Mobile has been testing TD-LTE for the past year and built a trial network for the Shanghai World Expo, working with Motorola, Alcatel-Lucent and Sequans. These trials will be extended to other Chinese cities this year and Mobile is working with FarEasTone of Taiwan on a joint testbed.
"In the next six to 12 months, TD-LTE as a technology will be ready for commercialization," said Bill Huang, general manager of China Mobile Research Institute, and he expects to launch wireless routers before year end. However, these will be targeted at China's specific spectrum bands, and Huang's 12-month outlook may still be too late for the Indian operators' urgent need to improve broadband coverage.