Home » Geopolitics » China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HSPA level] is to create momentum for that

China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HSPA level] is to create momentum for that

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Follow-up: – Good TD-LTE potential for target commercialisation by China Mobile in 2012 [July 13, 2011]

See also: Mobile Internet (Aug’11) which is a total update on Aug 26, 2011 with a lot of additions to the original July 19, 2010 content on the following subjects:
– LTE and LTE Advanced — HSPA Evolved (parallel to LTE and LTE Advanced) — Heterogeneous networks or HetNets — Femtocells and Picocells — Qualcomm innovations in all that — Ericsson’s LTE Advanced demo — Current roadmaps on evolutions of current 3G+ broadband mobile networks

China Mobile to accelerate TD-LTE commercialization [June 10, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

China Mobile reportedly has decided to accelerate its investment in TD-LTE technology aiming to push the commercialization of TD-LTE networks one year ahead of its original schedule, according to industry sources.

The affects of poor sales on the commercialization of its 3G TD-SCDMA networks has pushed China Mobile to move forward into the 4G segment, the sources indicated.

The move by China Mobile has attracted attention from a number of chipset makers including Qualcomm, Sequans Communications, MediaTek and VIA Technologies as well as China-based Spreadtrum Communications, Hisilicon Technologies and Innofidei, as they have all been eyeing the 4G chipset market in China, the sources noted.

MediaTek has decided to expand its R&D team for the development of LTE and WiMAX chips in Taiwan and China, with plans to raid talent from other wireless chipmakers as well as from HTC, said the sources, noting that MediaTek also does not rule out the possibility of acquiring related LTE R&D teams at home and abroad later.

Global opportunities for LTE TDD [Ovum, February 2011]

Quite often, LTE TDD (also known as TD-LTE) is wrongly presented as a Chinese technology. … However, unlike TD-SCDMA, which was originally a Chinese technology that was subsequently adopted by 3GPP, LTE TDD has been part of the 3GPP standardization effort since its inception. … China Mobile learned at its cost with TD-SCDMA that being a 550 million customer mobile operator helps to attract vendor attention but is not enough to make a technology a global success. The operator consequently built a strategy to position LTE as the next GSM, making LTE the de facto global standard for mobile broadband – something most cellular operators would welcome for cost reasons.

China Mobile is facing several challenges with TD-SCDMA. One of the most acute relates to the smaller economies of scale associated with a weaker device ecosystem compared to UMTS/HSPA. This is why China Mobile quickly oriented its long-term mobile broadband strategy towards LTE TDD. … In terms of LTE TDD network expansion, we believe that it could be faster than TD-SCDMA as the network will leverage many aspects of the current TD-SCDMA network including cell site facilities, backhaul, and even parts of the base stations. … Despite the large scale of the trials, the drawback of a 1H12 launch is the impact it may have on the development of the LTE TDD ecosystem. Fortunately for the technology, another significant market, India, may launch commercial LTE TDD services before the end of 2011.

It is Ovum’s view that LTE TDD will become widely adopted in the global market, but this will take time, as exemplified by our forecasts. There will be a delay of 12–18 months between the take-off of the two LTE variants. For LTE FDD take-off should be around 2012–13, while it is expected that this will be around 2013–14 for LTE TDD. We forecast 89 million LTE TDD connections by 2015, representing roughly 25% of total LTE connections.

First Pre-commercial LTE TDD/FDD Uni-Mode Single Chipset USB Dongle to be Launched in June [June 9, 2011]

In June 2011, the world’s first pre-commercial LTE TDD/FDD uni-mode, multi-band, single chipset USB dongle supporting LTE TDD/FDD idle mobility (cell reselection) will be launched by Huawei Hisilicon. Successful completion of the IOT tests with all of the 10 infrastructure vendorsindicated that it had fully satisfied the Uu IOT and terminal test requirements of MIIT and CMCC.

Detailed  design parameters are as follows:

The TD-LTE USB Dongle makes an unprecedented advance in functionality, performance, form factor, and interoperability. Prior to the launch of this pre-commercial TD-LTE dongle, 3 other critical development stages were completed:

  1. The first release of TD-LTE single-mode USB dongle test samples were released at the Shanghai World EXPO in mid 2010. All the terminals were custom-designed for the trial/ demonstration with the 65nm chipset design. Most of them passed the IOT tests with 1-2 infrastructures.
  2. The first release of LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode Single Chipset USB (65nm design) dongle test samples were released at GSMA MWC 2011 in February 2011. The USB dongles provided by Huawei Hisilicon and Qualcomm can support TD-LTE and LTE FDD in a single chip. The dongle is designed to support TD-LTE or LTE FDD based on the software that is loaded.  IOT tests with 3-4 infrastructrues were passed during this phase.
  3. The pre-commercial TD-LTE single-mode multi-band USB dongles (45nm design) were launched during the GTI 1st workshop in April 2011. These were targeted for trial applications and installations. More than 20 TD-LTE USB dongles from ZTE provided problem free services during the two-day GTI workshop. The DL peak data rate reached 80Mbps and the average single user DL data rate reached 4Mbps. The dongle demonstrated the commercial readiness, stable performance and rapid development of the TD-LTE dongle.

The development quickly progressed from a 65nm test sample to a pre-commercial, Full IOT, Uni-mode, 45nm solution in less than a year. TD-LTE Large Scale Trials in China and commercial deployment in India and Japan will speed up its commercial readiness. The TD-LTE dongle will be commercially available in 2011.

Spreadtrum Communications Acquired Stake in MobilePeak Holdings, Ltd., a Leading UMTS/HSPA+ Modem Chipset Designer [June 9, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPRD; “Spreadtrum” or the “Company”), a leading fabless semiconductor provider in China with advanced technology in both 2G and 3G wireless communications standards, today announced that it has acquired approximately 48.44% of the total outstanding shares of MobilePeak Holdings, Ltd. (’MobilePeak’), a privately held fabless semiconductor company based in Shanghai and San Diego that specializes in the design of highly integrated UMTS/HSPA+ modem chipsets.

Spreadtrum acquired approximately 48.44% of MobilePeak’s total outstanding shares, and provided a short-term loan to MobilePeak for the repayment of MobilePeak’s outstanding convertible bridge loans, for an aggregate cash consideration of approximately US$32.58 million. Spreadtrum intends to purchase all of MobilePeak’s issued and outstanding shares, and expects to complete the acquisition in the third quarter of 2011. Thanks to MobilePeak’s efficient operations, Spreadtrum expects the acquisition to have a minor impact on its earnings per share in Q2 and the remaining quarters in 2011, and Spreadtrum maintains its Q2 2011 guidance in terms of revenue, gross margin, and operating expenses as a percentage of revenue.

Commenting on the transaction, Spreadtrum’s Chairman, President and CEO, Dr. Leo Li, said, ’We are very pleased and excited to welcome the MobilePeak team. The synergies between the two companies and the opportunities created by this transaction are clear. With MobilePeak’s complete UMTS/HSPA+ solution, we will broaden our portfolio of worldwide wireless handset technologies, and make inroads into the WCDMA feature phone, smart phone and tablet markets.

“Utilizing our advanced 40nm technology, mature GSM/GPRS/EDGE and TD-SCDMA platforms, and working closely with MobilePeak’s Shanghai and San Diego teams, we will be well equipped to expand our international market shares. These capabilities are also a solid foundation for developing the next generation multi-mode FDD-LTE/WCDMA and TDD-LTE/TD-SCDMA technologies over the next two years.”

Mr. Qiuzhen (Joe) Zou, Chairman and President of MobilePeak, said, ’ We are eager to work with the Spreadtrum team. Since MobilePeak’s inception in 2005, our team has developed world-class baseband chipsets with support for 3GPP Standard through Release 7, including HSPA+ technology up to Category 14 with 21Mbps maximum downlink speed and 11Mbps maximum uplink speed. MobilePeak has more than 100 patents granted or pending worldwide, and its solutions have passed GCF tests and top-tier handset makers’ strict in-house tests. We are confident to roll out the first 40nm HSPA+ solution platform for feature phones and smart phones by 2012.’Mr. Zou will assume the role of Chief Technology Officer at Spreadtrum.

Mr. Zou founded MobilePeak in 2005 and has since served as MobilePeak’s Chairman. He served as MobilePeak’s Chief Technology Officer from 2005 to 2010 and assumed the position of President in 2010. Mr. Zou has more than 18 years of experience in the wireless communications industry. From 1993 to 2003, Mr. Zou held various positions with QUALCOMM, Inc., where he became a Vice President of Engineering in 2000. At QUALCOMM, Mr. Zou led various semiconductor design projects, including multiple generations of CDMA baseband chipsets. Mr. Zou received a BSEE from Southeast University in Nanjing, China in 1992, followed by an MSEE from Stanford University in 1993.

China market: 3G network investment totals CNY289 billion [June 14, 2011]

China Mobile, China United Telecommunications and China Telecom have cumulatively invested a total of CNY289 billion (US$43 billion) in setting up 3G networks consisting of 697,000 base stations around China, China-based http://www.xinhua.com has cited Ministry of Industry and Information Technology officials as indicating.

The three carriers had 67.57 million 3G subscribers in total as of the end of April 2011, the report indicated.

Goal for domestic 3G network set at 50m users [June 9, 2011]

The Chinese government has set a target of achieving more than 50 million third-generation (3G) mobile users by the end of 2011 for its homegrown telecommunication standard, but analysts predict the technology may not be the biggest winner in the 3G era.

Zhao Bo, deputy director of the electronics and information department with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said on Wednesday that China should continue to push forward its TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) 3G technology.

“The TD-SCDMA technology should realize its strategic target of acquiring at least one-third of China’s market, and grab 50 million users by the end of this year,” Zhao said.

He said he is confident that China Mobile Ltd, the world’s biggest telecom carrier by users, will achieve the goal within the schedule.

China Mobile is building the TD-SCDMA 3G network in China, while its domestic rivals, China Unicom Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd, adopted the WCDMA and CDMA2000 3G technologies.

Ye Lin, an official from the technology department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said since the three Chinese telecom operators obtained 3G licenses in early 2009, China has made major progress in 3G network development.

The three carriers have invested a total of 289 billion yuan ($44.6 billion) in 3G network construction in the past three years, Ye said. More than 697,000 3G base stations have been set up in the same period, he added.

The ministry recently announced that the number of 3G users in China reached 67.6 million by April.

China Mobile topped the list with 29.4 million, and China Unicom followed with 20.4 million. The smallest telecom carrier, China Telecom, had 17.8 million by April.

The great leap forward: How the world’s largest operator aims to jump one generation [Ericsson Business Review, June 10, 2011] interview with Bill Huang, GM of the China Mobile Research Institute (emphasis is mine)

China Mobile is pushing the time division (TD) flavor of LTE hard. Why is it necessary to have more than one kind of LTE, and what benefits does TD offer end users?

To understand, you must look back at what caused this technology evolution. There was an understanding that to go digital we must have a global standard. There were many candidates but they fell apart. GSM was a very good effort and succeeded in becoming the first real global standard. Then came 3G. In retrospect, 3G was a questionable development. It optimized voice capacity and quality but data traffic was kind of an afterthought. GSM did the job just fine. The best example is China Mobile. We deployed the world’s largest GSM network with the lowest tariffs, and never saw the need for a better voice service. 3G was a solution looking for a problem. And indeed, WCDMA did not take off until HSPA was developed. So from a historical perspective, HSPA was the only killer application for WCDMA, and internet access is the only reason HSPA took off.

Mobile internet is the only growth area for mobile communicationLTE carries the heritage of GSM and WCDMA with it … the selection of TD technology as a strong candidate in the evolution of LTE gives us an internet advantage. Historically, mobile communication has been symmetrical, dominated by voice. Internet traffic is not symmetrical. Downlink is typically 10 times faster than uplink, and addresses this. TD is unique in the way you can adjust the uplink and downlink ratio. And that’s why TD has become very useful – not only does it allow operators to use spectrum more efficiently, it also offers consumers a better user experience and lower costs.

How will China Mobile use 3G?

We will accelerate. For China Mobile 3G is an important licensing issue, and we are building a 3G infrastructure to create the momentum [with 3G HSPA level?] with which we move towards 4G.

Isn’t that a long way off in the future? Don’t you need to develop mobile broadband now?

Completely wrong! We are targeting commercialization next year, not in five years. In fact, operators in India and Japan plan to go commercial this year, but we are not that aggressive. So you see: 4G is not being pushed by the vendors, like 3G was. 4G is being pushed by the carriers. LTE is the only standard in the industry where, if you have a product, people will buy it right away. It’s  the reverse of how things used to be, and very interesting. LTE is being developed fast, but not fast enough.

Instead of looking at data volume, we can charge for downloading a movie, regardless of size, or a song or a book. We have all of that already in place. But frankly I don’t think consumers are used to content based billing, so we need to educate them – in many cases. … China Mobile’s strategy is that we will be a content and application aggregator, therefore becoming a smart pipe – not a dumb pipe that just provides access without aggregating anything. So we become the Walmart of information.

Instead of charging for content or traffic we can create a club. People are familiar with that concept. You pay one monthly charge and everything is free. It’s very effective; Netflix is a good example of a subscription based service that I think has a very good future as a business model. At China Mobile we can do anything with scale, but we can’t do everything in a niched or personalized way. So, if we provide a club we get to leverage that scale. We have 600 million subscribers. If only 10 percent sign up, that’s already 60 million members. If just 1 percent sign up, that’s 6 million members.

How do you handle the threat from the over-the-top (OTT) players, the internet companies?

It is a very real threat: OTT services can now replace almost any communications service imaginable. ott services are usually free, so this business model is based on backward billing. … What we hope to entice the user with is the quality of service – that’s our most important competitive advantage. … we must also look to reduce the cost of our services, potentially making them free as well. If we use other ways to generate revenue – like advertising or the club concept, and the user subscribes to a bandwidth bundle – we could provide the voice club service for a fixed fee, while guaranteeing the quality. Then I think we could kill off OTT very easily.

What do you expect from the cloud?

For mobile internet we have established a three-front strategy: LTE; the smartphone (operating Ophone, which is based on Android plus); and cloud computing. Only by combining all three can we create a really competitive and successful mobile-internet business.

We believe the cloud is an infrastructure technology that can address the cost of computing, reduce energy consumption and become a common platform for society, consumers and companies. Historically telecom operators have been reluctant to embrace it, but this was a mistake. In the US, I think carriers have already given up. They allow Google, Amazon and Microsoft to run cloud computing. But there are opportunities for China Mobile. If anything, we can do infrastructure on a large scale, data centers and so on. We do not have to develop all of the internet services in the world to compete with Google or Facebook. What we could do is build a cloud-computing infrastructure and invite all the internet companies to partner with us.

The most important phenomenon that will drive change in the mobile communications industry today is the evolution of smart phones. What used to be a communications device is now an all-purpose computing device. Today, fewer than 20 percent of our subscribers use smartphones. We think that in three to five years over 80 percentof our subscribers will use smartphones.

Have tablets changed this picture?

No, I see them as just bigger smartphones. In fact, Microsoft and others have tried for many years to introduce tablets and failed. But when Apple introduced the iPad, which is just a big iPhone, everybody loved it. So, this proves that a successful tablet is a big smartphone. The look and feel is very similar to that of a phone.

How do you work with the app store concept?

We embraced it completely and the way we differ from Apple is that we support all operating systems – including iOS if Apple wants us to. … We hope to create a platform that is independent of operating systems. … The reason China Mobile chose Android was that we need the flexibility to differentiate. We need to add components, APIs and functionality to Android. That’s why we call it Android plus.

I don’t know if video is going to be a major revenue stream, but I am sure it’s going to be a major application. I say that because making video calls on IMS [IP Multimedia System]will become an internet application, so it depends on how we charge for it. It opens up the potential for more creative billing strategies. We would be able to deliver a level of quality that would be very difficult for an ott player to achieve.

We studied what kind of apps users download and you’d be surprised how similar people’s tastes are. The top 1,000 apps have a 99-percent share of the market. That’s very good news for operators. We are not very good at long tail, but we are definitely good at short tail.

We want a mobile phone to be able to transmit TV to a large screen – so you can watch the program on your phone’s small screen or your computer screen, but also take it with you when you visit someone and watch it together on a large screen, in high definition. You won’t need the DVD. The mobile becomes the set-top box. So China Mobile doesn’t need a three-screen strategy – we only need a one-phone strategy. We are working on a wireless multimedia transmission technology called WiMo for this, and expect it to be available in two to three years.

Are you ready for mobile banking?

To be frank, we have not figured out which technology’s the right one to get the credit card or the payment mechanism into the phone. The most viable one for phones would be near-field communication (NFC). We have already established our architecture for mobile commerce and an account system with connections to all the banks, so from a service point of view we already have everything in place. What we need right now is for more phones to have the capability to carry the mobile payment and transaction engine – the right chip and components to support it, along with NFC.

Is banking a comfortable area for operators?

We don’t necessarily have to compete with the banks. We can rather just be the wallet and charge a monthly fee for the service. In other words, the banks can issue the cards and put them into our phones. We will make our platform open for all the banks. We don’t have to issue our own cards; all we have to do is to become the channel for the credit cards. And then we can make money. It is a great service – to sign up you don’t have to fill in a lot of forms; we have all the customer data that is needed.

How China institutional changes influence industry development? The case of TD-SCDMA industrialization [May 25, 2011]

… in view of that China state capitalizing on different SOEs and accompanying institutional changes, we further break framework into two time-periods:
– During stage 1 (2002- 2008) that China central government started to support Datang Group, aiming to commercialize TD-SCDMA technology into products. State also assigned Datang to lead TDIA [TD-SCDMA Industry Alliance designed to function as the platform of TD-SCDMA development, involving the activities of setting standard, sharing IPR, organizing supply chain, and coordinating among members] for TD-SCDMA industrialization.
– In stage 2 (2009-present), China state turned to mandate China Mobile to promote TD-SCDMA, not only responsible for networking building and service providing, but also for organizing of mobile handset supply chain (Wang and Tsai, 2010).

The R&D capacity of Datang Group as a whole is questionable, despite that Datang set home-grown TD-SCDMA standard (interview ES1). Since 1992, CATT had received national grant to undergo the earliest home-grown standard (SCDMA, 2G), but failed to commercialize due to weak R&D capacity in commercialize large-scale system development (Chen, 2005; Soh and Yu, 2010)11. Second, Datang XiAn, founded in 1993 and specializing for telecommunication equipment manufacturing for digital automatic switching (SPC) product, can not compete with local minying enterprise Huawei and mixed enterprise ZTE since late 90’s to early 2000’s (Fuller, 2005: 201; Harwit, 2007; Liu, 2008).

… the Datang Group is state-owned enterprise spin off from CATT, and they didn’t directly confront market and no pressure for survival(interview ES1and IS1). Although state continuously channeled national resources to compensate the loss (cf. Table 1 2004 negative profit) from developing TD-SCDMA and that Datang Mobile indeed deployed on R&D and accomplish some patents, Datang Group as a whole can not develop innovation capacity in designing parts and testing whole TD-SCDMA network system. One of the reason is that Datang Group lacked of associated knowledge and experience before (Soh and Yu, 2010).

The same situation occurs in TD-SCDMA mobile terminal products. The joint ventures IC design firms of Datang and MNCs, such as T3G or Commit, launched none of TD-SCDMA products to the market and ended up merged by ST-Ericsson or bankrupted. Likewise, Datang Mobile fruited no complete TD-SCMDA handset, so the state turned to university and public-sector research institutes to support the development of TD-SCDMA (Liu, 2008, 2009).

TDIA also confronted frustration in knowledge sharing and organizing of supply network. There’s no patent license-out or cross-license among member (Sumtttier et al., 2006; Whalley et al., 2009), except occasional license out from Datang to ZTE and Putian (Soh and Yu, 2010). Theoretically, Datang supposed to invite and global companies, such as Huawei and ZTE, into the supply chain of TD-SCDMA and leverage on their experience. But Datang, as the father of TD-SCDMA, tried to protect and guard their child (interview ES1). On the other hand, the R&D capacity of Huawei and ZTE outperformed Datang, so Huawei and ZTE won’t bother to join Datang on patent sharing and further on TD-SCDMA technology/product (interview RS4 and RS6).

State pick winner [and looser] SOE as national team

By contrast to Datang, the state evolves to pick China Mobile as the new national team by assessing past performance as selection criteria. First, China Mobile has near 500 million (end of 2008) users, making it as the largest telecom operator worldwide (BMI, 2010). So it’s a feasible path to migrate most China users from 2G (GSM) to home-grown standard (Interview, ES1). Second, China Mobile is most profitable and potential operator in China that China Mobile had the capacity and capital to promote TD-SCDMA (Interview ES1, SS2, ES1).

… the state threatens China Mobile: TD-SCDMA or none of 3G licenses. Coupled with impact on Mr. Wang’s political career, China Mobile has no choice but to promote TD-SCDMA (Interview ES1). On the other hand, the state also subsidizes RMB$10 billion (SinoCast, 2009) to compensate for potential loss estimated RMB $30 billion each year (Interview RS5).

In short, China state changes institutional means of supporting core SOE by both subsidies and threat, rather than carrot without stick. The state also changes to assess SOE’s past performance for prospects of TD-SCDMA. Despite the mandatory mission, China Mobile indeed starts to recruit R&D staff with high salary (Interview RS5) and experiments several innovations on TD-SCDMA network deployment, mobile phone launch, and service package to users (Interview IS1).

For the particular case of TD-SCDMA development, this paper contributes to discover that China state experiments and adapts institutions, along with the mentality adjusted from ‘standard matters’ to ‘R&D capacity rules’. More, the macro-level institutional learning also leads to meso-level institutional adaptation in the telecommunication industry. China Mobile acts as a mediator between state and network of firms, with the resources re-distribution and demand for collective action through the whole supply chain. Therefore, China Mobile not only managed to offer users with innovative service and networking build through in-house R&D, but also to organize the preliminary formation of TD-SCDMA production networks.

China Mobile, as a customer rather than rival of equipment manufacturers, had invested RMB$148 billion during 2008 to 2010 through four stages bids of infrastructure construction (BMI, 2010; IEK, 2010). Both local and global firms, such as SOEs Datang and Putian, minying Huawei and MNCs Nokia-Siemens, all compete for TD-SCDMA network building (Wang and Tsai, 2010). The final winners are Huawei and ZTE, for their cheaper but good product quality than MNCs’ and SOEs’ (Interview ES2). It indicates that China Mobile also selects their cooperating partners basing on market performance as the foremost criteria. This is different from the previously protectionism signal that Datang sent, since the SOE was targeted to dominate China market under the umbrella of MIIT, and which formulated the national industrial policy.

China Mobile also realizes that the biggest problem of TD-SCDMA industrialization is the shortage of TD-SCDMA handsets in the market. Under the pressure from mission and profit, China Mobile urges their current partners (e.g. Nokia and Motorola) to produce TD-SCDMA products through replicating the same incentives tools that state imposed upon China Mobile. That is, China Mobile, basing on their market significance, threatens their main suppliers (e.g. Nokia and Motorola): TD-SCDMA products or none of other business (Interview IS1). On the other hand, China Mobile first offered RMB$ 600 million to three chipsets designers and nine handset suppliers, to induce these leading firms to offer cheap products to penetrate China market. Thus, Nokia, HTC, Samsung and some local firms started to launch TD-SCDMA handsets. Most of all, China Mobile plays as a coordinator to integrate the supply chain, from upstream IC design firms to downstream  manufacturers (Interview IS1).

China Mobile awards 12 companies TD-SCDMA research grants [May 17, 2009] (p. 4, emphasis is mine)

China Mobile will provide funding of RMB 600 million ($87.77 million) to 12 mobile phone and chip manufacturers for the research and development (R & D) of terminal devices based on the homegrown TD-SCDMA standard, China Mobile announced on May 17.

According to the announcement, the 12 companies include nine mobile phone manufacturers, namely Motorola Inc., Samsung Corp., Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific Co. Ltd., Dopod Communication Corp., LG Electronics (China) Co. Ltd., ZTE Corp., Hisense Group, Guangzhou New Postcom Equipment Co. Ltd. and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. along with three chip makers, namely T3G Technology Co. Ltd., MediaTek Inc., and Spreadtrum Communications Co. Ltd.

As China Mobile stipulated that chip makers and mobile phone manufacturers pair up in the R & D project, T3G will work with Motorola, Samsung, Dopod and Huawei while MediaTek will work with Yulong, ZTE and LG. Spreadtrum will collaborate with Hisense and New Postcom.

Motorola, Samsung, Yulong, Dopod and LG, together with their chip maker partners [T3G and MediaTek], will receive combined funding of RMB 310 million ($45.35 million) from China Mobile for R & D of high-end TD-SCDMA mobile phones. The remaining mobile phone manufacturers [Huawei, ZTE, Hisense and New Postcom], together with their chip maker partners [T3G, MediaTek and Spreadtrum], will be responsible for R & D of low-end TD-SCDMA mobile phones and will receive combined funding worth RMB 290 million ($42.42 million) from China Mobile, the announcement said.

China Mobile Reveals TD-SCDMA Handset Subsidy Bidding Results [May 17, 2009] (emphasis is mine)

On May 17, China Mobile (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) held a signing ceremony for subsidies targeted at joint TD-SCDMA handset R&D, with nine handset manufacturers and three chip manufacturers signing a “cooperative R&D” agreement. China Mobile will invest RMB 600 mln in the subsidies, driving total investment of over RMB 1.2 bln in TD-SCDMA R&D, with the remaining contributions coming from participating vendors.

6 joint bids won subsidies for China Mobile’s “Flagship Broadband Internet Handset” project: Motorola and 3G chip manufacturer T3G; Samsung and T3G; mobile handset manufacturer Yulong and TD-SCDMA chipmaker Leadcore Technology; Smartphone manufacturer Dopod and T3G; LG Electronics and Leadcore; and ZTE and Leadcore. China Mobile will invest approximately RMB 310 mln in the project.

For the “Low Cost 3G Handset” project, the five successful bids were ZTE and Leadcore; LG and Leadcore; Hisense and wireless baseband chipset provider Spreadtrum Communications (Nasdaq: SPRD); Guangzhou New Postcom and Spreadtrum; and handset manufacturer Huawei and T3G. China Mobile will provide approximately RMB 290 mln of funding for this project.

7 months later these 11 handsets were shown [as per China Mobile’s Dec 17, 2009 press release in Chinese

China Mobile‘s 200 Models of TD Mobile Phone Listing This Year [March 18, 2011]

Recenly Li Yue, president of China Mobile, attended the Results Announcement said that China Mobile has an adequate supply in the 3G mobile phones. Currently, 50 companies are available to TD phones, and another 200 models will be able to supply soon.

At the end of last year, China Mobile has conducted 6 million low-end TD mobile phones tender. And in February this year, China Mobile has conducted 12.2 million high-end TD mobile phones procurement, of which, about 150 million units flagship Internet terminals, 30 million units dual card dual standby terminals, 320 million units multimedia intelligent terminals, 400 million units fashion and entertainment terminals and 320 million units universal intelligent terminals.

Xue Taohai, vice president of China Mobile, said the group will control the handset subsidies in 17.5 billion yuan. It is reported that China Mobile set a new goal for 25 million 3G users this year, and the current 3G network has covered 656 cities.

China Mobile Changes Strategy in Terminal Procurement [April 22, 2011]

Foreign mobile phone makers that has been disappointed in the bidding invitation of China Mobile Ltd. (SEHK: 0941 and NYSE: CHL) for centralized procurement of 6 million TD-SCDMA terminals last year, have turned things around in this year’s first round of centralized procurement kicked off by the leading telecommunications carrier.

Reporters find out that foreign mobile phone makers have won more than half of the share in recent centralized procurement, indicating that China Mobile has adjusted its philosophy in terms of the development of TD-SCDMA terminals, pointed out an insider who declines to reveal his name, saying that the company is not satisfied about current situation for the distribution of TD-SCDMA mobile phones.

A top executive of China Mobile opens out that the sales volume of TD-SCDMA terminals is small, indirectly confirming the report, saying that TD-SCDMA mobile phones have bad quality and high prices.

In the opinion of a researcher of iSuppli, China Mobile has changed its strategy to snatch market share and enlarge user base through low-end TD-SCDMA terminals and will improve the brand influence and boost the sales volume of TD-SCDMA mobile phones through the promotion of flagship terminals.

At the end of 2010, a domestic TD-SCDMA chipmaker has begun preparing for the next year’s centralized procurement of TD-SCDMA mobile phones by China Mobile, since the distribution of TD-SCDMA terminals completely relies on telecom carriers.

The top management of the chipmaker has been determined to win the centralized procurement. However, in February 2011, the announcement of China Mobile about the result disappointed them.

China Mobile has focused on medium- and high-end mobile phones in this year’s first round of centralized procurement while bid winners were all domestic TD-SCDMA terminal makers last year.

The changing philosophy of China Mobile is unfavorable to domestic mobile phone makers, which are mostly oriented to the manufacturing of medium- and low-end TD-SCDMA terminals.

Take the example of upstream chipmaker Leadcore Technology Co., Ltd., its shipment of TD-SCDMA chips topped 13 million in 2010. In last year’s centralized procurement, the company took over half of the share.

In contrast, US IC designer Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL) that is oriented to the medium- and high-end TD-SCDMA smart phone market is likely to snatch more than half of the share in the latest centralized procurement.

Whatever strategy China Mobile adheres to, its aim will not change. That is to attract more customers for TD-SCDMA mobile phones. A top executive of Leadcore Technology believes that high-end TD-SCDMA terminals will help China Mobile improve its brand influence. But, to boost sales volume, the company still has to rely on medium- and low-end mobile phones.

(1 USD = CNY 6.51) Source: http://www.nf.nfdaily.cn (April 22, 2011)

Muted group procurement result of TD smartphone in May, indicating backend loaded demand with low SP mix in 2011 [May 24, 2011]

Leadcore, Huawei, and Borqs indicated that China Mobile (CM) procured only 1.2mn TD smartphone (SP) with a minimum order of 200,000 for each model, well below the market expectation of 12mn units with minimum guaranteed order of 800,000 per model. CM has selected six models (three Ophone, two Android, and one feature phone) from Huawei, ZTE, Samsung, Lenovo, Motorola, and Coolpad. They attributed the disappointing central procurement result of TD smartphone to relatively poor quality of phones. That said, Leadcore believes that MIIT has required CM to add 30mn TD-SCDMA subs in 2011 and TD terminal or chipset shipment is likely to be 53mn in 2011. Leadcore is hopeful that feature phone and SP could represent most of the TD phones with fixed wireless terminals at only 3-4mn in 2011. Leadcore expects CM to shift to open channels, which also receives a subsidy through contracts with provincial or local CM subsidiaries; and we predict the mix of open channel and central procurement to increase from 30% and 70% in 2011 to 70% and 30% in 2012, respectively. Similarly, Spreadtrum also expects TD chipset market to reach 45-50mn in central procurement (fixed wireless 35%, feature phone 50%, smartphone 10-15%), and 60mn-70mn units in total (including the open channel). Spreadtrum has seen strong recent demand from open channel. We note that open channel tends to sell more feature phones and fixed wireless phones.

Leadcore and Spreadtrum aim to gain TD market share in 2011

Leadcore believes that it has 50% of TD market share together with Mediatek. Marvell has relocated some of its R&D resources to China and is getting support from OEM. CM would like to give 60% of its SP orders to Marvell. However, in a recent stability test by CM, Leadcore scored at 95% pass rate, with T3G at 93% and MRVL at only 65%.

Rumor: China Mobile Establishes National Handset Procurement Arm [May 27, 2011]

An industry source said recently that China Mobile (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) has circulated a memo internally announcing the establishment of a terminals center, to be announced officially in August, that will operate as a national-level handset procurement subsidiary. The operator is currently making necessary internal adjustments in order to transfer staff to the new center.

The new terminals center will be operated like a division of China Mobile, overseen directly by China Mobile headquarters, and will focus on terminal procurement and sales. The center will be comprised of several departments, including products, procurement, marketing, channels, systems support, general services, and finance. While it is being referred to internally as the “mobile terminals center,” externally it will operate like a company.

Previously, the source said, China Mobile’s headquarters had been separate from provincial-level procurement operations, which it will now unify under the new terminals center. If a handset manufacturer is not on the center’s supplier list, it will be unable to promote its handset through provincial subsidiaries.

Earlier reports claimed that China Mobile had planned to transform handset distributor Topssion, which it acquired in March, into a terminal sales subsidiary.

Borqs Unveils Latest OPhone Handsets at 14th China Beijing International High-tech Expo [May 20, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

With the coming of the World Telecommunications Day, the 14th China Beijing International High-tech Expo (the Expo) opened at China International Exhibition Center from May 18th to 22nd, 2011. This Expo was co-organized by several state departments of China, including the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Many innovative enterprises participated into the Expo with their innovation achievements. Borqs, one of the members of China’s National Special Key Projects, were also invited and exhibited the new serial of TD smartphones running on OPhone OS 2.0 or higher.

From “Made in China” to “Created in China”, and then to “China Standards”, enterprises based in Zhongguancun have always been committed to innovation and development since their establishment. As technology advancement and industry transfer are seen everywhere around the world, China Mobile developed and launched the first 3G standard in China, TD-SCDMA, a decade plus ago. As of today, China Mobile has maintained 61.9 million 3G mobile users as well as 26.99 million TD-SCDMA users. Recently, Mr. Jianzhou Wang, the Chairman of China Mobile, pointed out that TD system was no longer a test network but a commercial one covering 656 cities around China with the joint efforts of China Mobile and its industry partners from within and outside the country. Especially, the TD-SCDMA industry chain has emerged in recent years,, consisting of near 50 telecommunication enterprises, including many manufacturers and providers of network, terminals and chips, in and outside China.

OPhone OS is closely related to TD. Up to now, OPhone smartphones account for 50% of TD smartphones. At the Expo, a wide range of TD terminals are exhibited, including many new OPhone-based models. Following its receiving recognition from the state officials at the prior 11th Five-year Plan Major Science & Technology Achievements Exhibition, OPhone OS continued to be all the rage and attracted many visitors at the Expo.

TD-LTE Industry Briefing – May 2011 by China Mobile [May 27, 2011]

TD-LTE Large Scale Trial in China Update –All 6 Cities Have Launched Base Stations

  • All 6 cities have launched base stations. The number of launched Base Stations has reached 20% of the planned ones.
  • The planning of continuous coverage in hot spot areas has been completed in all 6 cities. The constructions are under way:
    – 78% supporting facilities modification accomplished
    – 69% equipments arrived
    – 35% equipments installed
      • Transmission tests have been completed in several cities
      • EPC and Security tests initiated in several cities in April 2011
      • RANtests are planned to start in the end of May 2011TD

GTI Official Website: http://www.lte-tdd.org

The GTI official website was launched during the 1st GTI Workshop [on 27-28 April 2011 in Guangzhou, China]. The website shares the latest information about TD-LTE related News, Events, Reports and Statistics. GTI operators have the rights to access the Working Space on GTI website for technical presentations and further deliverables of GTI.

China Mobile Almost Finishes Pilot TD-LTE Network Deployment [June 7, 2011]

China Mobile, one of the Big Three telecom operators in the country, has completed deployment of a pilot TD-LTE network in most of the cities selected for a planned test, disclosed people familiar with the matter today.

Most of the system equipment makers have completed the first TD-LTE call in cooperation with the branches of China Mobile, according to one of the people, noting that additional telecom equipment makers are expected to make a presence in the program for an expansion of the test.

The TD-LTE network test, kicked off on March 24 with the releasing of document from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), has been going on smoothly reflected by a group of telecom equipment makers’ success in TD-LTE call.

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., one of the top-ranking telecom equipment makers in the country, helped launch the first TD-LTE wireless connection in Shenzhen on April 6, facilitating the rollout of high-speed download service and high-definition video service based on the TD-LTE data card.

TD LTE to revolutionize wireless broadband [May 31, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

During the second international LTE conference held in New Delhi, the industry said that it has become imperative to deploy LTE technology to set standards. With numerous benefits of TD LTE, the industry is graping with deployment challenges while early availability of devices has become another area of concern. Bharti Airtel is conducting trial in Chandigarh. The deployment of TD LTE at right time as well as availability of devices will be a challenge, and it is coming out with a lot of hope.

Speaking at the event, J Gopal, Advisor (Technology), DoT said that they are looking forward for this technology to bridge digital divide and facilitate economic growth. With various consumer-centric advantages, TD LTE is becoming an important tool for every operator today while some of them have already begun trials.

“Eventually we see migration from WiMax to TD LTE and significantly there is a global initiative to promote it. India and China are the leading contenders of this technology, which is mature now,” said Sujit Bakre, head, 4G business development and product management (APAC), Nokia Siemens Networks. Large investments have already been done on 2G/3G and now we should leverage voice onto TD LTE, he added. Bakre reiterated that they bagged two commercial deals in Middle-East and Latin America but however couldn’t name the operators.

Puneet Garg, VP, Networks, Bharti Airtel said that TD LTE is a next step towards broadband wireless and is the fastest BWA technology and has become a realty now. “It will make high speed wireless broadband affordable to urban and rural consumers. This technology facilitate low TCO”, he added.

Rajan S Mathews, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India said that broadband is the single big imperative for the country. “As we are poised to be the largest economy by 2050, therefore we couldn’t afford to miss the broadband bus,” he said. Mathews said that the government is aggressively implementing the national policy on broadband and TD LTE is a great opportunity for the country to get into building standards.

20 Operators Have Joined GTI [May 19, 2011]

Following the 1st GTI Workshop, GTI has gained strong momentum. Till May 19th, 20 operators from Europe, Asia, America and Oceania have formally joined GTI.

These 20 GTI operators are:

Aero2, Belltell, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, Clearwire, Datame, E-Plus, FarEastone, First International Telecom Corp,KT, Omantel, Nextwave, Packet One, Smoltelecom, SoftBank, Tatung Infocomm, Vividwireless, Vodafone, Voentelecom, Woosh.

GTI was formed to promote the TD-LTE ecosystem as a major standard in mobile broadband technology and drive the early development TD-LTE networks. Seven operators including Aero2, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, Clearwire, E-Plus, Softbank Mobile and Vodafone jointly kicked off GTI activities in February during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

GTI objectives are:

1) Energizing the creation of a world-class and a growth-focused business environment;

2) Delivering great customer experience and bringing operational efficiencies;

3) Promoting convergence of TD-LTE and LTE FDD in order to maximize the economy of scale;

4) Facilitating multilateral cooperation between and/or among operators.

GTI has started preparing the 2nd Workshop and initiated the discussions on the technical areas which will be investigated among GTI operators.

Vividwireless joins global TD-LTE promotion initiative [May 19, 2011]

vividwireless a Seven Group Holdings Limited [media-related] company, owns and operates Australia’s first 4G wireless broadband network. vividwireless launched in Perth in March, 2010. The network has since been expanded to cover select parts of metropolitan Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane.

Vividwireless – which presently operates mobile WiMAX networks in capital cities – has joined the Global TD-LTE Initiative (time division long term evolution) launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.
GTI, which held its first working meeting in Guangzhou earlier this month, was formed to promote the TD-LTE ecosystem as a major standard in mobile broadband technology and drive the early development TD-LTE networks. Its founding members were ChinaMobile, Bharti Airtel, Softbank Mobile, Vodafone, Clearwire, E-Plus, and Aero2. Vividwireless says it was invited to join at the launch.

Commenting on the launch of GTI at the time, Julien Grivolas, principal analyst at Ovum said: “A certain scale for LTE TDD was guaranteed by strong support from China Mobile, the largest operator in the world. However, as TD-SCDMA [China’s 3G mobile standard] proved to its cost, this is not necessarily enough to make LTE TDD technology a global success. China Mobile consequently considered it strategically vital to garner support from other key players.”

He added: “This LTE TDD evangelism started years ago, often behind the scenes, and finally came to fruition with the creation of the GTI. As a consequence, the main merit of the GTI announcement really lies in the official support for LTE TDD (and better harmonisation with LTE FDD) from a number of international players.

“With heavyweights such as China Mobile, Bharti Airtel, Softbank Mobile, and Vodafone Group – serving more than 1.1 billion subscribers in total at the end of 2010 – the GTI is certainly heading in the right direction. However, to further contribute to the virtuous cycle that the GTI aims to fuel, the organisation remains fully open to all operators and technology vendors interested in promoting LTE TDD.”

Vividwireless said that the GTI would “organise a series of activities to bring TD-LTE operators and vendors together to share development strategies and technology know-how, expediting the development of terminals and fostering global roaming and low-cost terminals.”

Vividwireless trialled LTE in Sydney earlier this year and says “The trials…demonstrated that TD-LTE can deliver wireless broadband that is faster than ADSL2+, with peak speeds as high as 128Mbps and consistent ‘real world’ speeds between 40 – 70Mbps.”

Following the trial the company said it was sufficiently impressed to consider using TD-LTE rather than WiMAX for its planned major east coast network rollouts. CEO Martin Mercer said “The technology is far more mature than we had expected. The Huawei SingleRAN solution [used in WiMAX mode in Vividwireless’ networks today] is basically ready to go today and is at a price point that would enable us to take service to market at prices comparable to what we offer today.

“We could deploy this technology in our east coast rollout and provide customers with services superior to those we provide today and equivalent prices. The question for us now based on the results of the trial is: do we rollout TD-LTE on the east coast…and do we deploy it in other markets as well?

vividwireless First To Trial 100Mbps Broadband TD-LTE In Australia [Nov 10, 2010] (emphasis is mine)

Leading 4G wireless broadband provider, vividwireless, today announced the first
Australian trial of superfast mobile wireless broadband – TD-LTE – (Time-Division
Duplex Long Term Evolution) which can deliver peak speeds of more than 100Mbps.
vividwireless CEO Martin Mercer said the trial with technology partner Huawei Australia
was part of the company’s continuing technology roadmap assessment.

“vividwireless is trialing the advanced TD-LTE technology to evaluate and determine the
very best mobile voice and broadband service to meet our customers’ future needs.
vividwireless is determined to ensure that it retains its ranking as Perth’s fastest wireless
broadband provider,” he said.

Huawei’s global experience with the technology has found TD-LTE can deliver wireless
broadband that is much faster than ADSL2+, with peak speeds of more than 100Mbps.
The trial will cover the market readiness of TD-LTE, including the technology’s capacity,
coverage and ‘real world’ performance.

“Demand for high speed wireless connectivity is increasing rapidly. Customers want fast,
reliable HD video streaming, gaming, communications, transactions and other
entertainment to be available wherever they are,” said Mr Mercer.

“Our current network satisfies this demand and this trial will help us to ensure that we
continue to be Australia’s leading wireless broadband provider,” he added.

The trial will commence in December 2010 in inner-city Sydney around Redfern, as well
as Western Sydney around Horsley Park. These locations will allow vividwireless to test
the performance of the technology in high demand, high density, inner city conditions
such as apartments and cafes, as well as suburban conditions.

Huawei Australia Chief Technology Officer Peter Rossi said, “Having worked with
vividwireless in rolling out its Perth network and the initial footprints in Sydney,
Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane, we are delighted to be working on this
TD-LTE trial.

“Huawei’s SingleRAN solution allows vividwireless to make a smooth transition from
WiMAX to TD-LTE to suit its network requirements, and with Huawei holding the title of
the world’s number-one LTE essential patent holder
, vividwireless will always have a
cutting-edge mobile network,” he concluded.

Ovum encourages operators in developed countries to be pragmatic [May 6, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Ovum has highlighted the potential of LTE TDD on many occasions, but has also pointed out the various challenges it faces. In particular we have highlighted that the current status of the device ecosystem may negatively impact the pace of rollout. Devices are always a crucial success factor for any kind of technology, but for LTE TDD they are even more important. This is largely due to the fact that most of the operators that have announced aggressive LTE TDD plans are based in emerging markets (China, India, and Russia).This means that low-cost devices will have to be made available quickly to serve these markets. In that sense, the creation of the Global TD-LTE Initiative at Mobile World Congress 2011 is a step in the right direction.

Launch of the GTI accelerates ecosystem development

In February 2011, China Mobile, Bharti Airtel, Softbank Mobile, Vodafone, Clearwire, E-Plus, and Aero2 officially launched the Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI). The organization will focus on promoting the fast development of LTE TDD technology, promoting the convergence of LTE TDD and FDD modes to maximize economies of scale, and sharing the ecosystem with other TDD technologies, such as the Japanese eXtended Global Platform (XGP) technology.

In the mobile telecoms industry, scale is vital – something that WiMAX can testify to. A certain scale for LTE TDD was guaranteed by strong support from China Mobile, the largest operator in the world. However, as TD-SCDMA proved to its cost, this is not necessarily enough to make LTE TDD technology a global success. China Mobile consequently considered it strategically vital to garner support from other key players (as stated in our report TD-LTE, China Mobile’s long-term engagement with ‘TD’, OVUM051850). Attracting vendors’ interest was the easy part given China Mobile’s size, but making sure that other operators would consider the LTE TDD option required more imagination. This LTE TDD evangelism started years ago, often behind the scenes, and finally came to fruition with the creation of the GTI. As a consequence, the main merit of the GTI announcement really lies in the official support for LTE TDD (and better harmonization with LTE FDD) from a number of international players. With heavyweights such as China Mobile, Bharti Airtel, Softbank Mobile, and Vodafone Group – serving more than 1.1 billion subscribers in total at the end of 2010 – the GTI is certainly heading in the right direction. However, to further contribute to the virtuous cycle that the GTI aims to fuel, the organization remains fully open to all operators and technology vendors interested in promoting LTE TDD.

China Mobile will not be the first to launch commercial LTE TDD services

The GTI launch event in Barcelona confirmed what we expected (see the report Global opportunities for LTE TDD, OT00063-016): with a launch expected in 2012, China Mobile will not be the first operator in the world with commercial LTE TDD services. However, it is true that the operator’s large-scale trial networks to be deployed in seven cities in 2011 will be much bigger than the majority of LTE (TDD and FDD) commercial networks available at that time.

Among the LTE TDD frontrunners, the GTI event confirmed Aero2 from Poland as a candidate to become the first with commercial services, in as early as May 2011. The operator will use equipment from Huawei to construct a converged LTE FDD/TDD network. Softbank Mobile also unveiled plans to commercially launch LTE TDD services in Japan before the end of 2011. Like Aero2, the Japanese operator will use the 2.5GHz spectrum band. Softbank Mobile recognizes that the timeline set for its LTE TDD project is aggressive, but claimed that it has full confidence in vendors to overcome the various challenges. In Softbank’s opinion, LTE TDD is better suited to handle mobile data services. This is because the technology’s asymmetric nature fits well with mobile broadband data usage patterns and because of the greater technical efficiency of LTE TDD versus LTE FDD in terms of smart antenna systems. Finally, the official support of LTE TDD by Bharti Airtel means that there are now three 2.3GHz broadband wireless access spectrum owners committed to rolling out the technology in India. Speaking at the event, the CEO of Bharti Airtel, Sanjay Kapoor, stated that support from operators in India and China will ensure scale for LTE TDD and definitely signals the end of WiMAX’s hopes.

Ovum encourages operators in developed countries to be pragmatic

So far, operators have continued to favor the FDD variant of LTE, especially in developed markets. However, we recommend that these operators, which sometimes own unused TDD spectrum, closely monitor the development of the LTE TDD market. The reason is simple: given the rise of data traffic, all spectrum is valuable. They should continue to adopt a very pragmatic approach to LTE TDD. This consists of ensuring LTE FDD/TDD integration into network equipment now and into devices once the LTE TDD device ecosystem is sufficiently mature. If LTE TDD becomes widely adopted, by 2014-15 LTE FDD operators may well be tempted to leverage LTE TDD cost benefits to add extra capacity to their networks.

The E-Plus Group, China Mobile and ZTE sign a MOU for TD-LTE field trial in Germany [Feb 14, 2011]

The E-Plus Group, China Mobile Communications Corp. and ZTE will work together to launch a TD-LTE field trial in Germany in Q1 2011. The trial is based on 2.6 GHz spectrum that E-Plus acquired in the German spectrum auction. China Mobile, with its leading position and rich experience in the operation and maintenance of TDD networks, will empower this trial. ZTE will provide base stations developed on the advanced SDR platform and co-siting solution of LTE FDD/TD-LTE, which is a breakthrough in the industry.

The E-Plus Group is the third largest mobile network operator in Germany. The E-Plus Group has been one of the most innovative mobile operators during years. After revolutionizing the mobile voice market for larger user groups E-Plus is now opening the mobile data market for the masses with low-priced data tariff schemes and the roll-out of a HSPA+ network with speeds up to 21.6 Mbps. On top of the high speed mobile data network roll out, E-Plus will now test TD-LTE in the field. The E-Plus Group is one of the founding members of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance.

The E-Plus Group and ZTE agreed and scheduled a field trial program for 2011 consisting of several streams to investigate the capabilities of ZTE’s commercial SDR equipment and best utilisation of the spectrum holdings of E-Plus in 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz and 2.6 GHz, both TD-LTE and LTE FDD.

China Mobile claims the largest number of mobile subscribers in the world. From TD-SCDMA to TD-LTE, China Mobile is devoted to promoting TDD industry being equipped with rich experience in TDD network deployment. Furthermore, China Mobile is pro-active in TDD technology globalization and convergence of TD-LTE and LTE FDD industry by seeking cooperation with overseas operators in Europe, Asia, America and Australia.

With joint effort of the E-Plus Group, China Mobile and ZTE, this trial will not only demonstrate the latest progress of TD-LTE/LTE FDD convergence in standards and industry development, but also lay an excellent ground for the full commercialization of TD-LTE.

About the E-Plus Group
The E-Plus Group is the challenger on the German mobile communications market. Simple services tailored to customer needs and a major reduction in call and data charges can be traced back to the initiative of the third-largest mobile network operator in Germany. After revolutionizing the voice market for larger user groups now the company opens the mobile data market for the masses by its massive network roll-out and highly attractive low-priced data tariff schemes. As a result of innovative business models, modern structures and strong partnerships the E-Plus Group was able to significantly strengthen its market position and show a more dynamic and profitable development than the market. Since 2005 E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH und Co. KG has developed into a family of brands offering target group-specific services and thus breaks new ground in mobile communications in Germany. More than 20 million customers are using the network of the E-Plus Group to make calls and send text messages or data. The Group generates an annual revenue of €3.2 billion (2010) and employs more than 2,500 people (FTE) in Germany.

326 Million Dual-Mode 4G Devices to be Activated by 2016 [May 31, 2011]

326 Million Dual-Mode (3G + LTE) Devices will be Activated by 2016 according to Maravedis’ latest research titled “Global 4G Device Forecast 2011-2016”.

“All LTE devices activated during 2010, including USB data cards, modems and notebooks, were single-mode,” said Cintia Garza, author of the report. “However, LTE+3G smartphones have emerged during 2011 as more LTE operators begin to add LTE to their device offering, in particular smart phones whose adoption will be key to LTE uptake.”

In the United States, Sprint’s early success with WiMAX smart phones suggests a very promising uptake for LTE smart phones. Many other carriers around the world are also looking at introducing smart phones in their LTE device portfolio by the end of 2011, such as NTT DoCoMo (Japan), and Yota (Russia).

“By 2013, more than 50% of LTE devices activated worldwide will support both FDD and TDD duplex modes, once TD-LTE deployments consolidate in China, India, Malaysia, Korea and other APAC countries,” continued Garza. “On the other hand, 75% of the LTE devices will support legacy systems (2G/3G) and 9% will support WiMAX technology; these devices will mainly include smart phones, tablets and USB dongles”.
Tablets are also one of the most promising devices in the 4G device market. Maravedis’ report predicts tablet shipments will grow from 46 million in 2011 to nearly 150 million by 2016. Apple iOS is expected to remain the most popular tablet for the coming years, reaching 46% market share by 2016.

Additional Research Findings: 

  1. 260 million dual-mode (TD LTE + FDD LTE) devices will be activated by 2016
  2. Android will account for 48.5% of the smart phone market, Windows 21% and iPhone (iOS) 16.5% by 2016.
  3. APAC and Europe will account for the largest number of smart phones and tablets activated by 2016.
  4. By 2016, 95% of the tablet installed base will be 3G/4G enabled.


LTE Subscriptions to Experience Growth of over 3,400% Between 2011 and 2015 [June 9, 2011]

Between mobile applications, data, voice, and streaming and broadcast video, global wireless bandwidth usage has increased ten-fold since 2008, and there are no signs of it stopping. This obsession to connect anywhere, any time, on any device, viewing any type of digital content is about to have a very real and sudden impact on the wireless world. In-Stat (www.in-stat.com) forecasts that LTE subscriptions will experience a 3,400% explosion of growth between 2011 and 2015.

“Although there are regional variations in the adoption of cellular services, due in part to current available technology, LTE will clearly be the 4G service of choice moving forward,” says Chris Kissel, Analyst.  “3G will remain the predominant service subscription, also with robust growth, but over the next 5 years things will trend toward LTE as 4G service availability is ramped up.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

  • North American FDD-LTE subscriptions are set to increase roughly 2100% from 2011 to 2015. In 2015, the ratio of North American FDD-LTE subscribers to TDD-LTE subscribers will be almost 14 to 1.
  • 3G subscriptions remain dominant with WCDMA technology capturing 26% of 3G subscriptions.  CDMA Rev B will be the smallest segment of the 3G technologies based on subscriptions.
  • 2G service subscriptions will peak in 2012, then they will begin a slow decline during the remainder of the forecast period.
  • More than half of all new deployments are LTE.

Mobile broadband subscribers overtake fixed broadband [June 7, 2011] (“in the text” emphasis is mine)

Market research firm Infonetics Research today released excerpts from its latest Fixed and Mobile Subscribers market forecast report


“As we predicted, mobile broadband subscribers surpassed wireline broadband subscribers in 2010 (558 million vs. 500 million). Fixed-line services are not dead, though, especially with China giving a boost to the worldwide wireline broadband base with its massive fiber-based program led by the Chinese government, which has set a 20Mbps benchmark for all broadband subscribers, where most today receive 2Mbps to 3Mbps at best,” notes Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research’s principal analyst for mobile infrastructure.


  • Infonetics forecasts the number of mobile phone subscribers to grow to 6.4 billion in 2015 (the current global population is 6.9 billion)
  • In 2010, Asia Pacific accounted for nearly half of all mobile subscribers
  • The number of cellular mobile broadband subscribers jumped almost 60% in 2010 to 558 million worldwide and should top 2 billion by 2015
  • Access lines (residential, business, and wholesale PSTN, POTS, and ISDN connections) are forecast to continue declining, falling to 759 million worldwide by 2015
  • As access lines disappear, new forms of wireline broadband continue to thrive; the number of wireline broadband subscribers (DSL, cable, PON, Ethernet FTTH, FTTB+LAN) hit 500 million worldwide in 2010
  • WiMAX, in high demand in many regions with inadequate wired infrastructure, remains modest in scale but not growth: despite the global recession, the number of WiMAX subscribers grew 75% in 2010, with more strong growth ahead, reaching 126 million in 2015
  • The number of VoIP subscribers (including VoIP over access lines and over other broadband lines, such as cable) is forecast to grow from 157 million in 2010 to 264 million in 2015
  • While growth in the number of video subscribers is being challenged by over-the-top (OTT) and free-to-air services, telco IPTV subscribers are forecast to triple between 2010 and 2015, and digital and satellite cable subscribers will see healthy annual growth as analog cable video subscribers continue their inevitable decline


Infonetics’ report provides worldwide and regional market size and forecasts through 2015 for access lines and fixed and mobile subscribers, including cable broadband, DSL, PON and Ethernet FTTH, residential and SOHO VoIP, telco IPTV, cable video, satellite video, mobile (GSM, W-CDMA, TD-SCDMA, cdmaOne, CDMA2000), cellular mobile broadband (W-CDMA/HSPA, CDMA2000/EV-DO, LTE, WiMAX, phone-based, PC-based), WiMAX (802.16m, 802.16e, 802.16d), and IMS subscribers. See report prospectus for details.

The report includes customizable pivot charts and analysis comparing subscriber types, regional service provider subscriber highlights, fundamental drivers of the market, technology developments, excerpts from Infonetics’ service provider capex reports, and analysis of overall market conditions for service providers, enterprises, subscribers, and the global economy.



  1. […] preliminary reading: – China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HS… [June 18, 2011] – High expectations on Marvell’s opportunities with China Mobile [May 28, 2011] – […]

  2. […] the information in that is the essential part of this post and generally won’t be repeated her): China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HS… [June 18, 2011]. One esssential quote is important, however: We are targeting commercialization […]

  3. Clearwire’s LTE push highlights growing momentum…


  4. […] information on this blog: – China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HS… [June 18, 2011] which also includes information about Global TD-LTE Initiative started by China […]

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