According to informed sources, China Mobile has informed all the equipment manufacturers of the TD-LTE expanded large scale trial network tender about the results of the tender. There were nine manufacturers involved in the tender of the construction of TD-LTE network in 13 cities, concrete results are as follows:
Huawei (Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu) and ZTE (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing, Shenyang, Tianjin) are the front winners, as each won five city contractor qualifications; Datang got 4 cities (Hangzhou, Fuzhou, Ningbo, Nanjing); Alcatel-Lucent (Shanghai, Qingdao, Nanjing) and Ericsson (Guangzhou, Shenyang, Qingdao) each received three cities, NSN is involved in Xiamen and Fuzhou, i.e. two cities; …
Note: Cities in bold have only one vendor while the underlined ones (Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Guangzhou) “will conduct in-depth testing and offer pre-commercial 4G services to the public” as per China Mobile.
Alcatel-Lucent Wins TD-LTE Contract to China Mobile [Cynthia Chow YouTube channel, Oct 16, 2012]
ZTE Wins 13,000- Carrier Frequency TD-LTE Contract to Become China Mobile’s Largest LTE Device Supplier [ZTE press release, Oct 15, 2012]
ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment, network solutions and mobile devices, today announced it has won China Mobile’s TD- LTE contract. According to the contract, ZTE will construct China Mobile’s TD-LTE networks in five Chinese cities, namely Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shenyang, with more than 13,000 carrier frequencies.
In China Mobile’s earlier TD-LTE project in Hong Kong, ZTE was assigned 50% of the construction work. ZTE has become the largest LTE device supplier for all such projects initiated by China Mobile.
China Mobile launched the TD-LTE bidding in August 2012. The tender included contracts for some 20,000 base stations and 52,000 carrier sectors, and theTD-LTE devices purchased by China Mobile will be deployed in an expanded trial TD-LTE network in 13 Chinese cities, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Qingdao, Tianjin, Shenyang, Ningbo, Chengdu and Fuzhou. Ten major telecom firms including ZTE, Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens bid for the tender.
Wang Shouchen, ZTE’s Vice President, said, “We thank China Mobile for choosing ZTE for the construction of the TD-LTE networks in the five cities. ZTE has been highly committed to TD-LTE as a strategic product. As a leader in LTE, our company is both capable of and confident in bringing excellent results to China Mobile.”
By August 2012, ZTE has constructed various trial LD-LTE networks and 9 commercial networks for 38 operators in 26 countries of Europe, CIS, Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia and North America.
TD-LTE-Advanced technology has been determined by ITU to be accorded the official designation of IMT-Advanced (4G mobile technology), to which Datang Telecom Group is an important contributor. Datang’s strong R&D capacity secures its leading position in telecommunication industry. TD-LTE is gaining momentum among global carriers.
In TD-LTE/TD-SCDMA area, visitors can experience services based on TD-LTE technology. Living Meeting, combined the features of cloud computing, TD-LTE’s high bandwidth and low latency, and providing mobile HD VOD conferencing services for users. In addition, SeeingEye intelligent identification system, supported HD picture and receiving terminals anywhere, users can view monitoring images and analyze results at anytime and anywhere.
Datang Mobile, a subsidiary of Datang Telecom Group, is chosen to construct TD-LTE scale trial network in Nanjing and TD-LTE demo network in Beijing. TD-LTE products and solutions developed by Datang have been adopted around the globe, driving TD-LTE speed.
China Launched 2.6GHz TDD Spectrum Planning [Global TD-LTE Initiative – GTI, Oct 16, 2012]
The TD-LTE Technology and Spectrum Workshop at ITU Telecom World 2012 took place in Dubai on October 14th, 2012. This workshop was jointly hosted by ITU, China Mobile, Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) and the TD Industry Alliance (TDIA), aiming to convene industry players to discuss the development trend of TD-LTE and spectrum-related issues and share experience on the commercialization of TD-LTE. Mr. Zhao Houlin, Deputy Secretary of ITU, Mr. Liu Lihua, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT), Mr. Zhao Jibin, Vice President of China Mobile, leaders from national telecom authorities, as well as senior managements from China Mobile, SoftBank, Clearwire, UK Broadband attended this workshop.
The government of China officially announced its 2.6GHz TDD spectrum planning at the workshop. Mr. Liu Lihua stated, “The government of China attaches great importance to the research and development as well as the commercialization of the new-generation broadband mobile communication technology, and has provided active support for industrial initiatives, such as technological tests, to advance the industry development. As one of the mainstream evolution standards, TD-LTE has great edge in spectrum utilization, and receives widespread recognition from global operators and device manufacturers.” Mr. Xie Cun, Deputy Director of Radio Regulatory Bureau, MIIT introduced the planning and progress of the frequency resources of China’s new-generation mobile broadband technology. According to him, China has decided to allocate 2.6GHz frequency band ranging from 2500-2690Hz and the entire band of 190MHz for the deployment and application of TD-LTE technology.
Such an announcement at the most authoritative meeting offered great confidence in the development of TD-LTE to the global industry and market, and helped point out the way for other nations that were going to plan and allocate frequency resources of mobile broadband in the near future.
Mr. Zhao Jibin, Vice President of China Mobile, pointed out at his speech, “China Mobile has always been committed to advancing the integration of LTE TDD/FDD. Joining forces with GTI, global operators and industry players, China Mobile has promoted the maturity and commercialization of TD-LTE. China Mobile has accomplished the TD-LTE large-scale trial this year and initiated the expanded large-scale trial across 13 cities in China. 20,000 TD-LTE base stations will be built up by the end of 2012. Equipment purchase and network construction across 100 cities in China, covering about 200,000 base stations, will be launched in 2013. Besides, China Mobile Hong Kong will roll out a commercial TD-LTE network to provide users with high-efficiency mobile broadband service based on the integration of LTE TDD/FDD.”
Representatives from GTI and TDIA gave keynote speeches on the global deployment of TD-LTE, as well as the development of the TDD industry in the mobile broadband era. As the representative from GTI mentioned, “GTI achieved rapid growth over the past year, having not only set up an important international cooperation platform composed of 50 operators and 37 industrial partners in the world, but also implemented dozen of GTI task forces under the categories of network, terminal, business and service working groups. These helped with the resolution of key problems in the commercialization to a very large extent and accelerated the maturity of TD-LTE. In the future, China Mobile will join force with GTI operators and industrial partners to advance the global deployment and development of TD-LTE. GTI will adopt more efficient strategic tactics to promote the development of highly-integrated, multi-mode multi-band terminals (such as Multi-Mode Multi-Band MiFi), help expand TD-LTE devices into consumer electronics, set up new pattern of global data roaming, and advance the convergence of LTE TDD/FDD. These measures will help address the requirements of the global mobile Internet market.
In addition, globally leading TDD operators, including SoftBank, ClearWire, UK Broadband and P1, shared their experiences in the large-scale deployment and commercialization of TD-LTE and gave suggestions on spectrum planning and allocation at the workshop.
Under the promotion and support of GTI, totally 12 commercial TD-LTE networks have been launched globally; 24 global operators have signed contracts for 31 devices, and more than 29 global operators have announced their TD-LTE commercialization plans.
China to modify building codes to promote fiber to the home [Xinhua, Sept 10, 2012]
Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei … also said [in an interview on 10th] for sure, that 4G license in China will be issued in about a year’s time, led by the country’s 4G technology TD-LTE and this will be a great deal of good news.
The World’s First Mobile Hotspot Prototypes Supporting Five Modes and Eleven Bands Debut at the 5th GTI Workshop in Dubai, UAE [China Mobile press release via PR Newswire, Oct 17, 2012]
The 5th GTI Workshop jointly hosted by China Mobile (NYSE: CHL; HKEx: 941) and Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) took place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates from October 15th to 16th, 2012. More than 100 representatives from international operators, international industrial organizations, system vendors and terminal/chip/test instrument OEMs attended this workshop, discussing key issues for commercialization of TD-LTE including R&D of highly-integrated Multi-Mode Multi-Band smart phones, convergence of LTE TDD/FDD, LTE roaming framework, VoLTE, as well as the application of TD-LTE in consumer electronics and the Things of Internet.
The workshop was highlighted by the release and demonstration of work outcomes of GTI’s Terminal Working Group. In the beginning of 2012, GTI has set its target to promote the industry to facilitate highly-integrated Multi-Mode Multi-Band terminal products. So far, GTI has preliminarily clarified the demands for Multi-Mode Multi-Band operation, finishing the draft of GTI White Paper on Multi-Mode Multi-Band Terminal Requirements & Realization Structure, GTI LTE Terminal General Technical Requirements, and GTI Multi-Mode Multi-Band Mobile Hotspot Terminal Technical Requirements. In addition, GTI has set up a team composed of core operators, such as China Mobile, Clearwire, SoftBank and KT, in an effort to assist chip OEMs partners including Qualcomm and Huawei Hisilcon and radio frequency front end OEMs, such as Avago, RFMD and Skyworks in developing highly-integrated Multi-Mode Multi-Band terminal products.
In particular, the world’s first global roaming enabled Multi-Mode Multi-Band mobile hotspot prototypes supporting five modes (LTE TDD/LTE FDD/TD-SCDMA/WCDMA/GSM) and eleven bands (Band 38/39/40/41/3/7/34/1/2/5/8) developed by Quanta and Gemtek were exhibited at the workshop. Later, GTI will perform a testing on the commercialization of the products.
Under GTI’s effective promotion in the technical field, substantial progresses have been made in the commercialization of Multi-Mode Multi-Band TD-LTE terminals, global roaming and convergence of LTE TDD/LTE FDD. The launch of the global roaming enabled highly-integrated Multi-Mode Multi-Band data terminal products is considered as a key milestone toward the globalization of TD-LTE, laying a solid foundation for the global deployment and application of TD-LTE and realization of global roaming.
Report: Sprint has no plans to acquire Clearwire, for now (FierceWireless, Oct 16, 2012)
Following Softbank’s announcement that it plans to purchase 70 percent of Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) for $20.1 billion, speculation started to rapidly swirl about whether Sprint would buy partner Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR). According to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources, Sprint has no immediate plans to do so.
The report said that Softbank and Sprint’s priority at this point is getting their multi-stage deal finalized and approved, which is expected to happen by mid-2013. The report also said that until the deal is completed, Softbank and Sprint cannot take part in “extraordinary activities” such as further mergers or acquisitions.
Sprint and Clearwire declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.
Despite assurances that the transaction does not require Sprint to take any actions involving Clearwire “other than those set forth in agreements Sprint has previously entered into with Clearwire and certain of its shareholders,” analysts and investors immediately began positing when–not if–Sprint would take control of Clearwire, in which it holds a 48 percent stake. Shares of Clearwire stock shot up 15.5 percent in midafternoon trading Monday at $2.68 before dropping back down to $2.35 per share Tuesday morning.
“I think the probability is very high that Clearwire won’t be a standalone company a year from now,” D.A. Davidson analyst Donna Jaegers told Dow Jones Newswires. Jaegers said Clearwire shareholders will need to determine what might be a “fair price” for a Sprint takeover.
Many industry analysts believe Softbank may be looking to boost the 2.5/2.6 GHz TD-LTE ecosystem. Clearwire is using that spectrum and technology for its LTE buildout, and plans to launch LTE service next year. Sprint has said its LTE devices will be able to run on its FDD-LTE network as well as Clearwire’s TD-LTE network, and Sprint will offload excess traffic onto Clearwire’s network. Clearwire has around 120 MHz of spectrum in many markets across the United States and Clearwire plans to use carrier aggregation technology in its forthcoming TD-LTE network to meld together it spectrum holdings into 40 MHz-wide channels.
“We believe that Clearwire will play a critical role in Softbank’s plans to aggressively compete with AT&T and Verizon in the United States,” wrote BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk. “Clearwire’s depth of spectrum paired with Sprint’s network and customer scale and Softbank’s cheap capital will enable the companies to offer faster speeds and more capacity than their rivals. Sprint would be wise to take control of Clearwire as soon as possible in order to protect that differentiation but in recent history Sprint has been slow to act, allowing their peers to poach opportunities.”
Piecyk noted that an acquisition of Clearwire would be difficult for Sprint given the complicated nature of Clearwire’s 2008 shareholder agreement, but he also said it would be tough for any of Sprint’s competitors given Sprint’s 48 percent stake. “Nevertheless, Sprint might regret leaving any risk that a competitor could poach Clearwire at a later date, especially if the later interest is a result of Sprint’s success in executing a more aggressive differentiated strategy with the 2.5 GHz spectrum while Softbank and China Mobile further legitimize the 2.5 GHz ecosystem in Japan and China, respectively,” he wrote. “Of course, this would not be the first time that Sprint made a strategic decision that we did not fully understand.”
Meanwhile, more details continued to emerge about the deal. According to Reuters, Sprint or Softbank would need to pay up to $600 million in termination fees if either party backs out of the deal. Sprint is also on the hook for up to $75 million if its shareholders do not approve the deal.
– see this Bloomberg article
– see this NYT article
– see this Dow Jones Newswires article
– see this BTIG blog post (reg. req.)
– see this separate Bloomberg article
– see this Reuters article
Special Report: Softbank to take control of Sprint: Complete coverage
NHK – Softbank wants to become major global carrier [NHKReloaded YouTube channel, Oct 16, 2012]
NHK World News —- Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai
Description — Softbank’s maverick chief Masayoshi Son says he wants to turn his telecom company into a major global mobile phone business. His comment came after the company announced that it would takeover the 3rd largest US carrier, Sprint Nextel.
In an exclusive interview with NHK on Monday, Son said that both Softbank and Sprint sell Apple iPhones and are moving to build a high-speed LTE wireless network. He said this was behind Softbank’s buyout decision.
He said he intends to implement Softbank’s know-how on smartphone sales and network improvement in the US market.
Son said he will move to the next step after fully completing business consolidation with Sprint and eAccess, Japan’s 4th-largest mobile carrier. Softbank announced the purchase of eAccess on October 1st.
Son also said he will accelerate capital spending to reinvigorate his company’s fight for market share. He said he wants to do this by increasing procurement of telecom equipment, taking advantage of economies of scale.
Last Wednesday, when the negotiations with Sprint were in the final stage, Son asked rhetorically over twitter whether his business goals weren’t too low, and whether he shouldn’t be satisfied with an ordinary life.
Son said he was simply expressing his thoughts during the negotiations with the US mobile carrier. He said he tweeted to encourage himself because he wanted to achieve his goals despite his worries.
Softbank will spend about 20 billion dollars to buy a 70 percent stake in Sprint. The strong yen worked to push the deal.
The purchase will create a global telecommunications giant with more than 96 million subscribers. Sprint has 56 million subscribers in the United States, the third largest number behind AT&T and Verizon.
Sprint’s $20 Billion Deal Could Mean Lower Rates for All [Wired.com, Oct 15, 2012]
The takeover of Sprint (S) by Japanese mobile phone company Softbank has Wall Street chattering about the history-making size of the $20 billion deal. But for most of us regular consumers, the relevant question is: What can $20 billion do for me?
Possibly a lot, even if you’re not a Sprint customer.
For years, the U.S. mobile marketplace has been dominated by two heavyweights engaged in a Republican-versus-Democrat-style two-party contest for dominance. As with many elections, consumers often end up feeling like they have to pick between the lesser of two evils rather than what they really want. But as with voting for third-party candidates, you can feel left out of the national conversation (literally) when you choose a company other than AT&T or Verizon.
But independent mobile industry analyst Chetan Sharma says SoftBank and its cash could give Sprint the heft it needs to become a relevant rival. The capital infusion lets Sprint build out its LTE network, creating a viable third high-speed option. And by combining forces for greater purchasing power, Sharma says Sprint and SoftBank together gain serious leverage when negotiating with handset makers for access to the best new phones.
With better phones and a better network, Sharma believes Sprint could at a minimum expect to claim at least one-quarter of the U.S. mobile subscribers, up from less than one-fifth. With a critical mass of customers, he says Verizon and AT&T will have to pay attention when Sprint offers lower prices. In the end, this could mean lower prices for everyone. “It puts pressure on the top two. The market can fluctuate,” Sharma says.
In the short term, he says SoftBank’s cash will also let Sprint continue to offer its unlimited plans while angling for a possible T-Mobile takeover, which would solidify Sprint’s status as the default third choice.
SoftBank could also help Sprint compete by taking the lead in bringing innovations popular in Japan into the U.S. market, such as advances in mobile payments and mobile health care. But Sprint customers could also find themselves affected if the Japanese market takes a bad turn and SoftBank is forced to focus attention and money on its business at home.
Barring such overseas crises, however, Sprint could find itself moving up from write-in candidate toward the stature of Ross Perot of the 1992 presidential race. The company might not have a chance of winning, and not everyone will take it seriously, but Sprint could finally get the chance to take part in the debate.
China Mobile Invites Tender for 34,700 TD-LTE Terminals [ChinaScope Financial, Sept 25, 2012]
- China Mobile (CHL: NYSE; 0941: HKG) announced today that it will soon open the bid for 34,700 TD-LTE device supply contract for trial in 13 cities.
- The trial projects will test multiple forms of dual-mode TD-LTE devices, including data card, MiFi, MiFi for international roaming, CPE, multi-mode and dual-SIM card smartphones, and tablet computers.
China Mobile Hong Kong selects Ericsson to build TD-LTE network [Ericsson press release, July 19, 2012]
- China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) selects Ericsson to add TDD technology to its commercial LTE network
- Ericsson and CMHK will together build a converged LTE FDD/TDD network based on 3GPP in Hong Kong, increasing end user experience and capacity
- Ericsson will upgrade, expand and perform systems integration of the operator’s Evolved Packet Core network (EPC)
China Mobile Hong Kong, subsidiary of the world’s largest mobile operator China Mobile Limited, has selected Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) to expand their commercial LTE network with TD-LTE (LTE TDD) in Hong Kong. Ericsson is already the sole supplier for China Mobile Hong Kong’s LTE FDD network. Together the companies will now build a converged LTE FDD/TDD network.
Leveraging on the advantage of the LTE FDD installed base, Ericsson will also upgrade the operator’s existing Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network.
China Mobile Hong Kong launched LTE FDD mobile data services in April this year. Now it plans to launch a TD-LTE network according to 3GPP standards, complementing its existing LTE FDD network. The converged LTE FDD/TDD network will be launched as early as the fourth quarter, when devices that support both modes become available in larger volumes.
“We chose Ericsson, a global leader in the LTE space, as our TD-LTE network partner,” said Sean Lee, Director and CEO of China Mobile Hong Kong. “By partnering with Ericsson and maximizing our spectrum asset, we will build a converged LTE FDD/TDD network that gives our customers an even better 4G experience.”
“This contract marks another significant milestone for Ericsson and further consolidates our network leadership in the region,” said Mats H Olsson, President of Ericsson China & North East Asia. “With our continued innovation in technology, services and design, we are committed to further enhance China Mobile’s mobile services in Hong Kong and extend our long-standing relationship with the operator.”
Under the agreement, Ericsson will deliver the TD-LTE radio access network, network management using Ericsson OSS-RC, Evolved Packet Core network expansion and upgrade, consulting and systems integration services as well related design, training and support services.
Ericsson has now signed 67 LTE/EPC contracts in 30 countries on five continents. We have a well proven LTE solution, outperforming competition, and according to measurements end of 2011, we have a 60% market share measured in LTE volumes.
ZTE launches TD-LTE commercial network in HK [China Daily, Sept 24, 2012]
ZTE Corp, the world’s fifth largest telecom equipment vendor by revenue, began deployment ofa TD-LTE commercial network in Hong Kong this month that will be put into operation by year-end.
On July 19 this year, China Mobile Hong Kong Ltd selected ZTE and Ericsson to build a TD-LTE network that operates in the 2.3GHz frequency band. Before that, China Mobile had already launched commercial FDD LTE network services in April.
When the project is completed, China Mobile will run a dual mode 4G LTE network in HongKong.
The network will be the first commercial TD-LTE network operated by China Mobile since the world’s biggest telecom operator started to promote the Chinese homegrown 4G technology in 2009. Currently, China Mobile conducts large-scale trials on TD-LTE technology in 13 Chinesemainland cities.
In a statement to China Daily, ZTE said it had signed nine TD-LTE commercial network contracts around the world by August.
Secretary General of Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) from the 7th Annual LTE Asia [LTEWorldSeries YouTube channel, Sept 26, 2012]
– What is the GTI organisation?
– Why will TD-LTE be important?
– What have been your impressions of this event?
– What has been your most valuable experience here?
TD-LTE Expanded Trial Officially Approved in China [GTI TD-LTE Industry Briefing August 2012, pp.5, Aug 10, 2012]
China TD-LTE Expanded Trial Officially Approved by Chinese Government
On July 18 2012,MIIT officially approved the deployment plan of TD‐LTE expanded trial in china.
Before the end of 2012, China Mobile will deploy 20,000 TD‐LTE base stations in 10 cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Qingdao and Shenzhen. 1.9GHz (Band 39) and 2.6GHz (Band 38) will be utilized for outdoor coverage and 2.3GHz (Band 40) for indoor coverage. The number of cities, network scale and frequency bands are much larger compared with the TD‐LTE large‐scale trial that finished during May 2012. At this phase, the trial will focus on the pre‐commercial deployment, network operation and friendly user test. Other 3 cities are currently under preparation, which are Chengdu, Fuzhou and Ningbo.
The approval of TD‐LTE expanded trial plan states that China is currently trying hard to boost up the commercial deployment of TD‐LTE network.
Chen Shanzhi delivered a speech on “ICT China 2012 High Level Forum” [Datang News, Sept 19, 2012]
On September 18th, Chen Shanzhi, Vice President and CTO of Datang, delivered a speech, “TD-LTE Industry Development and Technology Evolution” on “ICT China 2012 High Level Forum”.
In the speech, Mr. Chen pointed out that with the quick development of global LTE industry, TD-LTE attracted more big operators to join. By July 2012, 80 LTE networks in 38 countries had been in use; 16 operators had announced plans for TD-LTE commercial use. There were 9 commercial networks and 38 trial networks.
China launched expanded large-scale trial in 13 cities in 2012, realizing continuous wireless coverage in urban areas, and interconnection with TD-SCDMA and multi-mode application. Now 11 system suppliers and 9 chip manufacturer have participated in the trial, and 4 multi-mode terminals based on multi-mode chips, 3 of which have passed scale trial.
According to Chen Shanzhi, Datang, as the major contributor for TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE-A development and standardization, is committed to the development of TDD technology. Datang will promote LTE-Hi development with TDD macro cover technology as its basis. This will dramatically increase capacity and provide wider band and better experience. Datang actively deploys TD-LTE industry chain, and goes ahead in base stations, terminals, chips, test instruments and networking planning tools. Datang is one of the first enterprises which entered TD-LTE scale trials. Meanwhile, Nanjing TD-LTE trial network includes the only highway test scenario in scale trials.
As to the international market, Datang has started to construct TD-LTE trial networks in Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe.
At the end of his speech, Chen Shanzhi said Datang would strive to promote development of TD technology and innovative application, based on Datang’s strength in TD system equipment, TD handset chips, TD terminals and application areas.
China Mobile to expand 4G network [China Daily, June 21, 2012]
The rollout of China’s homegrown fourth-generation wireless networks will take off andexpand at a rapid pace if mature 4G terminalsare ready, according to Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile Ltd.
Xi, speaking at the GSMA Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai on Wednesday, said the developmentof China’s TD-LTE 4G technology is proceeding smoothly both at home and abroad.
China Mobile is conducting its Phase 2 scale-trial in 10 cities and aims to construct more than 20,000 base stations through new builds and upgrades this year, Xi said.
The company revealed in March that it hoped to have a total of more than 200,000 TD-LTE base stations by 2013.
“China Mobile has the ability to build as many 4G base stations as it wants in a short period oftime,” said Xi, a former vice-minister of industry and information technology, who succeeded Wang Jianzhou in March to become China Mobile’s chairman.
The target of building 200,000 TD-LTE base stations is realizable, since the company can directly upgrade its 3G stations to advanced 4G ones. According to China Mobile’s annual report, the number of 3G TD-SCDMA base stations reached around 220,000 last year.
However, the lack of TD-LTE devices could hamper the company’s 4G rollout, Xi continued.
Though a dozen mobile phone manufacturers have expressed interest in developing TD-LTEhandsets, a mature device has yet to emerge, said Cao Shumin, president of the China Academy of Telecommunication Research of the Ministry of Industry and InformationTechnology.
“Several TD-LTE handsets are being tested, but their capabilities do not meet the standardsfor everyday use,” Cao said.
The other LTE 4G technology, FDD-LTE, has around 64 smartphone models.
China Mobile started building the world’s largest TD-LTE trial network in the Chinese mainland in January 2011, when the Phase 1 scale-trial began. Among the 10 pilot cities, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Guangzhou will conduct in-depth testing and offer pre-commercial 4G services to the public.
The company realized two-way roaming between the FDD-LTE network in Hong Kong and theTD-LTE network in Hangzhou on Monday.
Reports have circulated that China Mobile would get a fixed-line network license from Chineseregulators to complement its wireless business. Xi said it was up to the ministry to decidewhether China Mobile should get the permit.
But China Mobile will not enter fixed-line networks on a large scale, or start any price wars, Xisaid. “If we get the license, we will do business selectively. China Mobile is a listed company, and we will invest considering returns.”
China Mobile and SoftBank note TD-LTE progress [Mobile World Live of GSMA, June 20, 2012]
LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE ASIA EXPO 2012: Executives from China Mobile and SoftBank today highlighted the success of their initial efforts with TD-LTE technology, although it was also noted that there are hurdles to be overcome – with devices a particular sticking point.
Speaking at the GTI Asia Conference, Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile, said that the company’s pilots have proved that “TD-LTE is capable of supporting big networks, with a large flow of data.” He said that the operator intends to “make further investments and further efforts to speed-up the implementation of TD-LTE,” with the intention to grow both its network size and its user base – although “that will depend on the maturity of the whole industry, especially the maturity of the terminals.”
With services currently only available using data devices, it was said that China Mobile will work with partners to launch smartphones “in the latter part of this year or next year.”
Ted Matsumoto, chief strategic advisor to the board of SoftBank, said that the Japanese number three now has more than 100,000 users for its services, following a commercial launch earlier this year.
Currently, SoftBank only offers one wireless hotspot device, with the intention to offer two more of these in the next quarter. In addition, in Q4 it is set to launch its first smartphone supporting TD-LTE, manufactured by Huawei, with the operator intending to move to the point where “most” of its smartphone range supports the connectivity.
Both executives also supported the need to support roaming, in order for LTE to become the enabler of international data services for travellers. China Mobile said it is looking for “more active exploration” of the options for data roaming.
And Matusmoto observed: “we are rather lonely. We would like to have more operators supporting TD-LTE through the world, so users can roam.”
SoftBank details ambitious TD-LTE plans [Mobile World Live of GSMA, Nov 15, 2011]
LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE ASIA CONGRESS 2011: Tetsuzo Matsumoto, chief strategic advisor to the CEO and member of the board of Japanese operator SoftBank, today disclosed an aggressive strategy for the rollout of TD-LTE services in Japan, with the intention of commercially launching propositions under the SoftBank 4G banner in March 2012.
Speaking this morning, Matsumoto (pictured) said that the company is looking to deploy around 12,000 base stations covering 92 percent of the population of Japan next year. “So it is real,” he observed.
Initially, the company will offer services using data cards and wireless hotspots. However, by the “summer or autumn” the intention is to offer a smartphone with TD-LTE support – which will also offer FDD LTE and HSPA connectivity.
SoftBank has already soft-launched a TD-LTE compatible network, through its Wireless City Planning affiliate. While this is using technology branded AXGP, Matsumoto said that this is “basically exactly the same as TD-LTE.” It is compatible with the global TD-LTE ecosystem, and is “100 percent conforming” to the 3GPP TD-LTE standard, he said.
The pilot has so far been a low-profile affair, he noted, but “eventually we will start making it more visible.”
According to Matsumoto, while SoftBank owns around one third of Wireless City Planning, the other investors are passive partners – it is “100 percent responsible for the operations.”
The executive also talked up SoftBank’s position in the mobile broadband market, as well as highlighting the potential for further industry collaborations. “Unlike other operators, Softbank’s background is internet. Our belief is that the world is moving from the mobile phone, to the mobile internet, and SoftBank is right to take the lead of this convergence throughout the world.”
The company is working with multiple partners to construct its network, including Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent.
Tetsuzo (Ted) Matsumoto is a member of the Board and Chief Strategy Advisor to the CEO of SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp. He is also a Board member of GSMA and various other international organizations related to the mobile communication industry
On September 1, 2006, Mr. Matsumoto joined Vodafone KK in Japan, which had been already acquired by Softbank group, as an Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, and became a member of the Board and Senior Executive Vice President of the company after its name was officially changed to SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp. Since then, until June 30, 2011, he had been active mainly in the area of the company’s technology strategy, government relations and international operations. Now, he is free from the company’s day-to-day operations, and focusing on the long-term strategic issues.
Prior to joining the Softbank group, Mr. Matsumoto was with Qualcomm for over 10 years, commencing as a consultant, and, subsequently, serving as President/Chairman of Qualcomm Japan, as well as a Senior Vice President at its Head Quarters in San Diego. While at Qualcomm, he was instrumental to introduce CDMA technology to Japan, and responsible for its Japan, Southeast Asia and Pacific operations.
Mr. Matsumoto began his career with Itochu Corporation, a Japanese conglomerate, where he worked for 34 years and held a variety of positions, including Senior Vice President of the Electronics Division of Itochu (America) Corp., General Manager of its Communication/Multimedia Business, and Group Vice President of the Aerospace and Information Division at the company’s Tokyo Headquarters. During his last five years with Itochu, he held the Director positions of the Boards of more than 10 Telecommunications, Media and IT Services companies in Japan.
Mr. Matsumoto received a Bachelor of Law degree from Kyoto University in 1962.
The Chinese actually are so proud of the progress of their “own” 4G standard that they put the below advertisement on the p. 4 of China Daily June 18, 2012 issue:
LTE TDD Goes Mainstream
Mobile ecosystem puts support behind the standard