China and Taiwan get closer on 4G
Two sides expected to sign broad cooperation deal this week, focusing on TD-LTE, M2M and mobile web services
Published: 3 September, 2012
Despite political tensions, hi-tech cooperation between China and Taiwan has been intensifying in recent times, as the superpower looks to emerge from the innovation and IPR shadow of the west. The two states are to sign agreements strengthening their cooperation on LTE and other wireless trends this week.
Industry leaders and government officials from both sides are meeting today in Beijing and are expected to sign memorandums of understanding which significantly expand on current collaborations, according to China Times. The projects will include next steps in standards for TD-LTE, the 4G platform being heavily pushed by China Mobile, which will take a prominent role in the delegation. Mobile is running a vast test network in China and has led moves towards seamless TDD/FDD roaming, which it will seek to include in deals with Taiwan's main cellcos.
Other moves will include the establishment of joint 4G R&D and testing platforms on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, and work on key growth areas like machine-to-machine networks, app stores and cloud services.
Among the companies taking part in this week's summit will be, from Taiwan, the main mobile carriers Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and FarEasTone, plus chip giant MediaTek; and from China, executives from the three operators - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom - plus major vendors like Huawei, Datang and ZTE.
Despite a rising number of ad hoc collaborations between companies and government institutions, this is the first time 4G will officially be added to the two states' telecoms research program, which has been in place for three years.
Taiwan has a critical role in the mobile economy thanks to its huge manufacturing base, and its companies increasingly operate in mainland China too, while Chinese firms are gaining market share and patent rights in LTE, at the expense of traditional suppliers like Ericsson. Recent figures from Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs show that procurement from mainland telecoms operators and vendors rose by between 30% and 40% last year, compared to 2010, to reach T$150bn ($5bn), and is expected to reach NT$$200bn by the end of 2012.