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Precedence for TD-LTE by Chinese government to benefit China Mobile to launch its China-originated 4G service as early as Dec 18, 2013

… it looks like the government was waiting till China Mobile was ready to launch, meanwhile delaying FDD-LTE by declaring a necessity to “test a converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD network at a later date”.

4G TD-LTE Licenses Officially Issued by MIIT [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Dec 4, 2013]

After months of waiting and dithering, China is moving into the 4G era.

Today Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has finally issued the first batch of 4G licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. China Mobile gets access to 130MHz of spectrum (1880-1900 MHz, 2320-2370 MHz, 2575-2635 MHz), China Unicom gets 40MHz (2300-2320 MHz, 2555-2575 MHz) and China Telecom has 40MHz (2370-2390 MHz, 2635-2655 MHz) for TD-LTE operation. The commercialization of TD-LTE in China by these three operators will certainly promote the TD-LTE scale deployment globally.

China issues 4G licenses [Xinhua, Dec 4, 2013]

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Wednesday issued 4G licenses to three Chinese telecom operators, marking the beginning of a new era in China’s high-speed mobile network.

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom received permits to offer fourth-generation (4G) mobile network services employing homegrown TD-LTE technology.

The ministry said the three companies have conducted large-scale tests of TD-LTE, or Time-Division Long-Term Evolution, one of two international standards, and their technology is ready for commercial service.

Zhang Feng, the MIIT’s spokesman, said 4G technology will lower bandwidth costs and promise faster mobile broadband.

The ministry’s figures showed that the Internet speed of 4G networks is 10 times that of 3G services, and allows mobile users to download a 7-megabyte music file in less than one second.

China Mobile said the rates for 4G services will be cheaper than those for 3G. In some cities where the company has launched the 4G network for trial commercial use, the tariff is 20 percent less than similar 3G network plans.

Li Yue, president of China Mobile, said the price of 4G smartphones will go down quickly following the approval of the 4G network for commercial use.

Now only a number of smartphone models in China are equipped with modules that support home-grown 4G TD-LTE technology, with their prices ranging from 350 U.S. dollars to 800 U.S. dollars.

Li said 4G terminals for as little as 150 U.S. dollars will be available on the market by the end of this year.

The MIIT also said Wednesday it will test a converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD network at a later date.

China is the major promoter of the TD-LTE standard and is also a major owner of the standard’s core patents. LTE FDD is the other international 4G standard and is popular in Europe.

The MIIT said the convergence of the two standards is gaining momentum in the global telecom industry. A total of 10 converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD commercial networks have been established so far worldwide.

China will issue licenses for LTE FDD when the condition is ripe,” said the ministry.

Experts believe the commercialization of TD-LTE will create a new impetus for China’s economic growth, as the country is home to the largest number of mobile phone users in the world.

The ministry’s statistics showed that the 3G network contributed 211 billion yuan (34 billion U.S. dollars) to China’s GDP in its first three years of commercial use.

“The 4G industry chain, which involves terminal manufacturing and the software sector, will further improve the services of China’s telecom sector,” said spokesman Zhang Feng.

60% of phone users in China have no plans to upgrade to 4G: report [Want China Times, Dec 6, 2013, 14:46 (GMT+8)]

More than 60% of China’s cell phone users have no plans to switch to the latest 4G technology, the Guangzhou-based Souther Daily reported on Dec. 5.

Though the paper did not give detailed information on how its poll was conducted, it said more than 60% of the people it surveyed said they are happy with their 3G smartphones and that they do not feel the need to upgrade.

Those polled said they have a greater choice of 3G smartphones at more competitive prices than the 4G options currently available.

Southern Daily said 4G services, for which the government began to issue licenses this week, would be attractive for the younger generation in particular but telecom carriers may need to offer more promotions and incentives to persuade people to retire their current cell phones.

3G vs. LTE Network Architecture – SixtySec [ExploreGate YouTube channel, May 4, 2012]

Visit http://www.exploregate.com for more videos on this topic.

What are the differences between TDD LTE (TD-LTE) and FDD LTE (FD-LTE)? [Global TD-LTE Initiative, Nov 4, 2013]

FDD LTE and TDD LTE are two different standards of LTE 4G technology. LTE is a high-speed wireless technology from the 3GPP standard. 3G growth reached its end at HSPA+, and mobile operators have already started deploying 4G networks to provide much more bandwidth for mobile users. 4G speed will provide a virtual LAN reality to mobile handsets by offering very high speed access to the Internet to experience real triple play services such as data, voice and video from a mobile network.

LTE is defined to support both the paired spectrum for Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and unpaired spectrum for Time Division Duplex (TDD). LTE FDD uses a paired spectrum that comes from a migration path of the 3G network, whereas TDD LTE uses an unpaired spectrum that evolved from TD-SCDMA.

TD-LTE does not require a paired spectrum since transmission and reception occurs in the same channel. In FD-LTE, it requires a paired spectrum with different frequencies with a guard band.

TD-LTE is cheaper than FD-LTE since in TD-LTE there is no need for a diplexer to isolate transmission and receptions.

In TD-LTE, it’s possible to change the uplink and downlink capacity ratio dynamically according to the needs. In FD-LTE, capacity is determined by frequency allocation by regulatory authorities, making it difficult to make a dynamic change.

In TD-LTE, a larger guard period is necessary to maintain the uplink and downlink separation that will affect the capacity. In FD-LTE, the same concept is referred to as a guard band for isolation of uplink and downlink, which will not affect capacity.

Cross slot interference exists in TD-LTE, which is not applicable to FD-LTE.

What are TD-LTE’s technical highlights? [Global TD-LTE Initiative, Nov 4, 2013]

TD-LTE transmissions travel in both directions on the same frequency band, a methodology formally known as “unpaired spectrum.” It is distinct from “paired spectrum,” where two frequencies are allocated, one for the transmit channel and the other for the receive channel (formally called “Frequency Division”). “Time Division” means the receive channel and the transmit channel take turns (i.e., divide the time between them) on the same frequency band. The time divisions are asymmetric, meaning that more time-slots are allocated to data going from the tower to the phone than from the phone to the tower. The usage patterns of the future (fewer phone calls, more Internet) are asymmetric in this manner.

The frequency bands used by TD-LTE are 3.4–3.6 GHz in Australia and the UK, 2.57−2.62 GHz in the US and China, 2.545-2.575 GHz in Japan, and 2.3–2.4 GHz in India and Australia. The technology supports scalable channel bandwidth, between 1.4 and 20 MHz. A typical range measures up to 200 meters indoors on a 2.57–2.62 GHz radio frequency link.

China Telecommunications: Who says TD-LTE doesn’t work? [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Nov 25, 2013]

Our existing ‘counter consensus’ view on the outlook for Chinese Telecoms is based on the belief that LTE will cause a reversal of fortune among the key players. China Mobile will solve the biggest problem identified in our consumer research (slow data speeds) and will once again have the ‘best’ mobile network in China on all dimensions. China Unicom, having gained strong momentum on the basis of their superior 3G data speeds will face a slowing of momentum – at least among high value customers seeking the latest technology

Over the last few weeks we have heard many arguments from China Mobile Bears as to why our hypothesis will be wrong. The initial arguments are usually targeted at the technology itself – that TD-LTE is a Chinese standard and a poor cousin to the much better FD-LTE more popular in Europe (it isn’t), that it doesn’t handle voice calls well (irrelevant – no operator in the world has launched a new LTE network with voice over LTEin all cases they use existing 2G or 3G networks for voice), that handsets will not be available (ever heard of the iPhone? Not to mention Samsung, Sony, HTC, Huawei…)

China Mobile launched its TD-LTE network in Shenzhen for ‘test’ operations in early November. We thought the best way to address the Bear’s technology concerns was to go test the network for ourselves. Nearly 120 speed tests conducted from different indoor and outdoor locations supported our hypothesis that TD-LTE will be demonstratively better than Unicom’s existing 3G network in data speeds. On average we experienced download speeds 10 times faster, upload speeds 7 times faster and a dramatic improvement in latency. We concur that service coverage for LTE is currently weaker, but locations meaningful to high value customers are already largely covered. Coverage will continue to improve as China Mobile rolls out new sites.

Over the last few years, China Mobile has underperformed the market while Unicom has outperformed – we attribute most of the difference in fortune of these two companies to the relative data speed of their respective 3G networks. We believe the launch of TD-LTE services by China Mobile will start the process of reversing this. Speed test in Shenzhen affirm our belief that TD-LTE technology works and is demonstratively superior to W-CDMA in data speeds.

Click to download:
China Telecommunications: Who says TD-LTE doesn’t work?
We experienced lightning speeds in Shenzhen

[a 10 pages long whitepaper by Berstein Research, Nov 18, 2013]

Some important excerpts from that:

China Mobile has been selling TD-LTE devices and rate plans in Shenzhen since November 1st. As 4G licenses are not yet issued, these sales are described as “trials” and are limited to a small number of devices and are only available in a few cities. The LTE rate plans are provisional: service contracts are signed under a 3G rate plan which will transfer to a 4G plan in January. We believe that sales of 4G services in advance of an actual license is an aggressive move, and highlights how important 4G is for China Mobile’s management.

We conducted over 100 speed tests in Shenzhen to compare the new TD-LTE network versus Unicom’s existing 3G network. Unicom has benefited tremendously from China Mobile’s misfortune with TD-SCDMA and its own good fortune of being licensed with WCDMA. Unicom also stands to suffer the most if its leadership on speed is lost. Our proprietary customer research indicated this was a key buying factor for many of Unicom’s existing customers. We went to Shenzhen (one of the cities where China Mobile is already selling 4G services) to pit China Unicom and China Mobile’s networks head-to-head. We conducted ~120 tests across various locations (indoors, outdoors, in-transit, and under-ground) to reach robust conclusions on speed, latency and coverage. Our test approach and sampling criteria are shown on Exhibit 1; our 4G test equipments are shown in Exhibits 2 and 3.

As expected, our test highlighted that TD-SCDMA lags Unicom’s WCDMA in 3G data speeds. First we wanted to confirm Unicom’s data speed superiority over China Mobile on 3G network. As expected we found Unicom’s WCDMA to download and upload around 3 times faster than China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA. TD-SCDMA clocked an average of 1.1MB/s on download and 0.2MB/s on upload, compared to 2.7MB/s and 0.7MB/s for WCDMA. These results were broadly similar to field tests done by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in 2010 (see Exhibits 4 and 5).

However, China Mobile’s TD-LTE is everything it is promised to be: the new leader in data speed. We then moved on to test TD-LTE… We found it had 3 times less latency (Exhibit 6) which improves the browsing experience making the phone feel more responsive. Download speeds clocked an average of 26.2MB/s, which was ~10 times faster than Unicom’s 3G network (Exhibit 7). Upload speeds averaged 5MB/s, which was 7 times faster than Unicom’s 3G (Exhibit 8). These performance levels were consistently observed across all locations where there was a signal. Part of TD-LTE’s outperformance is due to a lack of users on the network, however, given the large amount of spectrum expected to be allocated for LTE services we believe there will continue to be a material performance advantage over WCDMA even as the subscriber base expands.

The TD-LTE network had more coverage gaps but this will improve over time. China Mobile’s TD-LTE network did have some coverage issues, even within urban Shenzhen. However the problem was less significant than feared. All the outdoor sites tested received good signals, and high traffic indoor locations (e.g. shopping malls, cafes) are also covered. The only test site where we failed to receive a signal was the underground metro station (Refer back to Exhibit 1). We suspect there are many more ‘gaps’ around, but these will be progressively fixed over time.

Anecdotally there appears to be pent-up demand for TD-LTE services; improving availability of handsets will be key to unlocking this. Currently there are only two LTE handsets available from China Mobile: a Samsung Galaxy Note II at 5299RMB [$871] and a cheaper Huawei model at 2888RMB [$475]. One clerk told us that since launching 4G “trials” 2 weeks ago, her store had only sold one TD-LTE phone. However many customers with TD-LTE compatible iPhones (5S/5C models bought in Hong Kong) are signing up to 4G plans. We are wary of making too much from this, but agree that improving handset availability will be key to a broader uptake of the service. With integrated 2G/3G/4G chipsets available and China now being the largest smartphone market, we believe it will not be long before a large number of mid to low end devices start to appear on the market.

More than Half of Asian Population Will Be Covered by LTE-TDD by 2018 [ABI Research News, Nov 4, 2013]

LTE network deployments will continue to grow rapidly globally. Time-division duplex (TDD) network is picking up the pace and gaining more market traction. In Asia-Pacific, LTE-TDD networks will cover more than 53% of the population by 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.1% between 2012 and 2018, while frequency-division duplex (FDD) networks will reach 49% population coverage by the end of 2018.

“The increase of LTE-TDD population coverage is mainly driven by wide deployment in some Asian countries with large populations, such as China, India, and Japan,” comments Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research. “Due to its complementarity of using unpaired spectrum, a number of LTE-FDD operators will expand their networks with LTE-TDD in additional spectrum to improve network capacity.”

Among Asia-Pacific’s recently completed, on-going, and upcoming 4G spectrum auctions, 25% concern 2,600 MHz, 25% 1,800 MHz, and 20% 800 MHz, which is consistent with the popularity of the 2,600 MHz band for LTE-TDD networks. “Asia-Pacific will be the region with the most LTE-TDD networks,” adds Jake Saunders, VP and practice director. “Of global LTE-TDD concluded contracts awarded to vendors so far, 47% come from Asia-Pacific and the second largest portion of 18% is contributed by the Middle East.”

Considering spectrum efficiency, spectrum bandwidth, network capacity, etc., a number of operators are preparing to upgrade LTE networks to LTE-Advanced networks. In ABI Research’s latest survey, there have been 29 LTE Advanced network commitments worldwide by Q3 2013, of which 10 commitments come from Western Europe, 9 from Asia-Pacific, and 5 from North America.

TD-LTE global market overview [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Sept 13, 2013]

With the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard continuing to develop, international differences in plannings and frequency allocation timetables have resulted in different frequency bands being used in different countries. TD-LTE standard’s greater efficiency in terms of frequency spectrum usage has attracted the attention of carriers in a number of other countries.

21 TD-LTE commercial networks have been launched as of August, 2013, and 39 LTE TDD commercial networks are in progress or planned. (Source: GSA)

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TD-LTE’s unique features have also played an important part in the technology’s growing stature in the market. Because TD-LTE makes asymmetrical use of unpaired spectrum, for both uplink and downlink, it is a spectral efficient technology. Spectrum is a valuable commodity for mobile operators, especially those who operate in countries where there is a limited amount of available FDD spectrum; or where only single unpaired frequency is available. Driven by its spectral efficiency, TD-LTE is now increasingly being viewed as an attractive proposition in markets.

GSA confirms 244 LTE networks are commercially launched, LTE1800 now mainstream [news article by GSA, Dec 5, 2013]

The latest update of the Evolution to LTE report from GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) confirms that 244 operators have commercially launched LTE services in 92 countries.

98 LTE networks have been commercially launched so far in 2013.

The report confirms that 499 operators are investing in LTE in 143 countries. This is made up of 448 firm operator commitments to build LTE networks in 134 countries, plus 51 additional operators engaged in various trials, studies, etc. in a further 9 countries.

From amongst the committed operators, 244 have commercially launched services, which is 78% more than a year ago.

GSA forecasts there will be 260 LTE networks in commercial service by the end of this year.

The majority of LTE operators have deployed the FDD mode of the standard. The most widely used band in network deployments continues to be 1800 MHz which is used in over 44% of commercially launched LTE networks. 108 operators worldwide have launched LTE1800 (band 3) systems, 157% more than a year ago, in 58 countries, either as a single band system, or as part of a multi-band deployment.
1800 MHz spectrum is typically refarmed from its original use for 2G/GSM, facilitated by technology-neutral licensing policies.
As 1800 MHz is the prime band for LTE deployments worldwide, it will greatly assist international roaming for mobile broadband. Mobile licences for 1800 MHz have been awarded to 350+ operators in nearly 150 countries.
The number of LTE1800 terminals has tripled in each of the past 2 years. One third of all announced LTE user devices can operate in 1800 MHz band 3 spectrum. LTE1800 is a mature, mainstream technology.
The next most popular contiguous bands are 2.6 GHz (band 7) as used in 29% of networks in commercial service today, followed by 800 MHz (band 20) in 12% of networks, and AWS (band 4) in 8% of networks.

Interest in the TDD mode continues to be strengthening globally ahead of the large-scale commercial deployments in China. Worldwide, 25 LTE TDD (TD-LTE) systems are commercially launched in 20 countries, of which 12 are deployed in combined LTE FDD & TDD operations.

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The report includes a growing list of operators who have commercially launched or preparing to introduce enhancements to their networks including multicarrier support for Category 4 user devices (150 Mbps theoretical peak downlink speed), and LTE-Advanced features, especially carrier aggregation, which is a key trend.
The report also confirms how voice service has moved up the agenda for many LTE operators as network coverage has improved (nationwide in many cases) and as the penetration and usage of LTE-capable smartphones has increased. VoLTE services have been launched by operators in Asia, Europe, and North America and several more operators have committed to VoLTE deployments and launches over the next few months.
The Evolution to LTE report (December 5, 2013) is a free download for registered site users
Registration page for new users: http://www.gsacom.com/user/register
Numerous charts, maps etc. confirming the progress of mobile broadband developments including LTE are also available on the home page and at www.gsacom.com/news/statistics.

GSA confirms 1,240 LTE user devices launched, support building for LTE-Advanced systems [news article by GSA, Nov 7, 2013]

The latest update to the ‘Status of the LTE Ecosystem’ report published by the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) confirms that 120 manufacturers have announced 1,240 LTE-enabled user devices, including frequency and carrier variants.
680 new LTE user devices were announced in the past year. The number of manufacturers increased by 44% in this period. Smartphones continue to be the largest LTE device category with 455 products released, representing 36% share of all LTE device types. 99% of LTE smartphones also operate on 3G networks (HSPA/HSPA+ or EV-DO or TD-SCDMA technologies).

The report embraced devices that operate on the FDD and/or TDD modes of the LTE system. The majority of products are designed for operation in the FDD mode. However, 274 devices can operate in the LTE TDD (TD-LTE) mode, and this figure is 159 higher than a year ago.

The largest LTE device ecosystems for the FDD bands are as follows:
– 2600 MHz band 7 = 448 devices
– 1800 MHz band 3 = 412 devices
– 800 MHz band 20 = 314 devices
– 2100 MHz band 1 = 305 devices
– 700 MHz bands 12, 17 = 289 devices
– AWS band 4 = 279 devices
– 700 MHz band 13 = 250 devices
– 850 MHz band 5 = 189 devices
– 900 MHz band 8 = 174 devices
– 1900 MHz band 2 = 134 devices
TDD bands:
– 2600 MHz band 38 = 197 devices
– 2300 MHz band 40 = 184 devices
– 1900 MHz band 39 = 71 devices
– 2600 MHz band 41 = 63 devices
– 2500 MHz bands 42, 43 = 15 devices
(totals include carrier and operator variants)

The Evolution to LTE report (October 17, 2013) is also available as a free download to registered site users via the link at http://www.gsacom.com/gsm3g/infopapers

Note that by the time of 4G based on TD-LTE the leading edge of LTE will much further ahead as SK Telecom Demonstrates 225 Mbps LTE-Advanced [press release, Nov 28, 2013]

  • Successfully demonstrates the upgraded LTE-Advanced: Aggregates 20MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band and 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band to offer up to 225Mbps of speed
  • Expects to launch the ‘20MHz+10MHz’ LTE-Advanced service in the second half of 2014 and plans to introduce 3 Band Carrier Aggregation in an early manner
SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) today held a press conference to demonstrate the upgraded LTE-Advanced service that offers up to 225Mbps of speed by aggregating 20MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band and 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band.

LTE can only offer up to 150Mbps of speeds using a maximum of 20MHz of continuous spectrum in one band, while LTE-Advanced can support speeds over 150Mbps by combining different bands through Carrier Aggregation (CA).

Insert of mine:
[WIS2013] SK텔레콤 LTE-Advanced [SK telecom YouTube channel, May 20, 2013]

SK텔레콤도 World IT Show 2013에 ‘선을 넘다.’라는 테마로 함께 했습니다. LTE를 넘어서는 LTE-Advanced! WIS2013도 SKT와 함께 하세요! 🙂 (Bing translation: SK Telecom also World IT Show 2013 ‘ Over the line ‘ called the theme together. LTE beyond LTE-Advanced! W I S – SKT with now!)
In June 2013, SK Telecom has commercialized, for the first time in the world, LTE-Advanced service using 10MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band and 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band. Backed by a wide range of mobile value added services specially designed for the LTE-Advanced network, and a rich lineup of LTE-Advanced capable devices (8 different smartphone models), SK Telecom’s LTE-Advanced service is attracting subscribers at a rapid pace.
Moreover, on August 30, 2013, SK Telecom has gained authorization to operate the 35 MHz bandwidth (20 downlink + 15 uplink) in 1.8GHz band, and immediately launched diverse measures to strengthen both its LTE and LTE-Advanced services by utilizing the newly acquired bandwidth.

Once SK Telecom commercializes the upgraded LTE-Advanced (20MHz+10MHz), customers will be able to download an 800MB movie in just 28 seconds, significantly faster than other networks. Measured at their maximum speeds, downloading the same movie file via 3G, LTE, and the existing LTE-Advanced (10MHz+10MHz) would take 7 minutes and 24 seconds, 1 minute and 25 seconds, and 43 seconds, respectively.

The company said that it expects to launch the ‘20MHz+10MHz’ LTE-Advanced service nationwide through smartphones in the second half of 2014 as the smartphone chipset that supports 225 Mbps of speeds is currently being developed.

Furthermore, by successfully demonstrating the ‘20MHz+10MHz’ CA, SK Telecom moves one step closer to realizing the next level of LTE-Advanced technology: Aggregating three component carriers (20MHz+10MHz+10MHz) to support up to 300Mbps of speed.

Alex Jinsung Choi, Executive Vice President and Head of ICT R&D Division at SK Telecom said, “SK Telecom has been leading the development of wireless networks since it commercialized CDMA (2G) technology for the world’s first time in 1996. Today’s successful demonstration of 225 Mbps LTE-Advanced will serve as a momentum for SK Telecom to realize more innovative network technologies, which will also lead to the growth of relevant industries, including device, content and convergence fields.”
But already SK Telecom, China Mobile agree on automatic LTE roaming service [Yonhap, Dec 5, 2013]
SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile operator, said Thursday that it has agreed to launch an automatic international Long Term Evolution (LTE) roaming service with China Mobile Ltd., as well as other LTE services.
Under the deal, travelers and businesspeople will be able to use their regular LTE services offered by the two mobile carriers more easily between the two countries, according to SK Telecom.
About 6.8 million Koreans and Chinese traveled between the two countries last year.
Early this year, SK Telecom and CSL Ltd. of Hong Kong successfully demonstrated the compatibility of their two LTE networks. The international automatic LTE roaming service has been available since June this year.
Since October, SK Telecom also has offered a similar roaming service with Saudi Arabia.
image
SK Telecom CEO Ha Sung-min (R) and China Mobile’s Chairman Xi Guohua
pose for a photo at SK Telecom’s headquarters in Seoul.


China Mobile:

New era for mobiles as 4G licenses issued to carriers [Xinhuanet, Dec 5, 2013]

China issued long-awaited 4G licenses to three telecommunications carriers yesterday, which would offer mobile Internet access 20 to 50 times faster than the current 3G network and create a new trillion-yuan market for devices and services.
China, the world’s biggest mobile phone market, has now officially entered the 4G era five years after it issued 3G licenses. The technology is widely adopted in the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea and other regional markets.
The network, along with e-commerce and software businesses, is expected to boost information consumption and market demand, and encourage innovation in China, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

China Mobile will launch 4G services in Shanghai, Beijing and 11 other cities by the end of this year. The number of cities will expand to 340 by the end of 2014.

Users can upgrade to the 4G network without changing phone numbers, China Mobile said yesterday. It has been testing 4G networks for two years.

China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom all got 4G licenses based on TD-LTE (time division-long term evolution) technology. China Unicom and China Telecom also got approval to test another 4G technology FD-LTE (frequency division-LTE), which is mainly used in overseas markets.
China will issue FD-LTE 4G licenses later, the ministry said.
China Mobile also got the approval to operate fixed-line business including family broadband, which makes it possible to launch bundled services, the ministry added.
“It’s a national strategy to boost commercial 4G development to boost consumption and fuel-related investment,” the ministry said on its website.
The ministry said that 4G had become an engine for the development of the whole IT industry, fueling demand for the latest smartphones. With greatly improved speed and more powerful phones, new mobile Internet services will appear that will enrich people’s daily lives, the ministry said.
With 4G, mobile users can download a film (700 megabytes) in two minutes and a high-quality song (7MB) in less than a second. More 4G-related services such as video on demand, conferencing, high-quality music streaming, multiplayer games and remote video monitoring for medical and security services are being tested, industry insiders said.
The initial investment for 4G will reach 500 billion yuan (US$82 billion) in a few years, and is expected to hit 1 trillion yuan with the industry’s development.
“4G LTE is the fastest growing mobile technology since the inception of mobility some 25 years ago. And we know that mobile broadband will have a huge impact on people, business and society and be one of the most critical infrastructures for any country,” Hans Vestberg, chief executive of Ericsson, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment vendor.
By 2019, China will be home to 700 million mobile subscribers on 4G, making it the world’s biggest 4G market, according to Ericsson.
Equipment makers including Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell are going to benefit from the 4G wave.
“We are fully prepared for providing handsets for China’s own 4G technology, from entry-level to high-end phones,” said Cher Wang, HTC’s chairman.

China Mobile is going to launch 4G services with a new brand He, meaning harmony in Chinese, on December 17. The carrier may offer iPhones supporting TD-LTE then, according to industry sources.

In cities such as Beijing and Shenzhen, China Mobile have allowed users to apply for trial commercial use of 4G services with their own devices. In Shanghai, more than 1,800 people had been invited to test 4G services.

Its target is to cover 100 cities by the middle of next year and 340 by the end of 2014, when it plans to launch 4G phones that cost less than 1,000 yuan each. In the first half, it will launch 50 new 4G phones.

In Shanghai, nine TD-LTE phones will be available by the end of this year. Users can apply for 4G services at China Mobile’s outlets on Madang Road and Minsheng Road initially, to be expanded to 20 outlets citywide.

Shanghai Mobile also plans to establish an additional 3,000 4G base stations next year from the current 700, to cover the whole city including suburban and rural regions.

(Source: Shanghai Daily)

From 2013 Interim Results Presentation as of Aug 15, 2013

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From China Mobile 2012 Annual Report [April 25, 2013]

Business Overview

… starting from 2013, we commenced investments in the development of TD-LTE network. We intend to use the TD-LTE network to primarily carry high bandwidth and high quality wireless broadband businesses. In 2012, the extended large scale trial of the TD-LTE network was carried out in 15 cities in Mainland China and approximately 20,000 base stations were built. The quality and scale of the TD-LTE networks in Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have reached pre-commercial standard. In addition, we started providing commercial 4G services in Hong Kong in 2012 with the LTE FDD and TD-LTE bandwidths we previously obtained from the Office of the Telecommunications Authority of Hong Kong in 2009 and 2012, respectively. We plan to construct more than 200,000 TD-LTE base stations in 2013. [Certain 3G base stations may also be upgraded to TD-LTE base stations.]

China Mobile lifts hopes of Apple deal and 4G launch [Shanghai Daily via Xinhuanet, Oct 31, 2013]

China Mobile is raising consumer hopes that the next-generation 4G mobile network will be launched soon and that a long-awaited deal between the world’s largest telco and Apple Inc may be unveiled as early as next week.

The telco’s website displays a cartoon tornado advertisement that announces “the invasion of 4G” and “November 9-11.” The ad links to a page showing two images of smartphones that resemble iPhones and a caption that says “special discounts.”

November 11, or Singles’ Day, is the busiest shopping day of the year in China. Last year, it generated 4 billion U.S.dollars in online sales alone, according to retail consultant McKinsey Global Institute.

China Mobile declined to comment but its senior executives said earlier that it would distribute 4G phones, including Apple’s latest iPhone 5S, after China issues 4G licenses expected by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has approved the sale of several 4G models made by Sony, ZTE and other vendors.

China Mobile hopes the expected tie-up with Apple will boost revenue and profit, especially in the high-end market segment, after its net profit for the first three quarters of this year fell for the first time by 1.9 percent to 91.5 billion yuan (14.8 billion U.S.dollars).

China Mobile’s Beijing branch jumps on 4G technology wave [China Daily USA, Nov 6, 2013]

Carrier to begin sales of newest network-enabled smartphones
Beijing has become the latest Chinese city to join the wave of tests for fourth generation, or 4G, mobile networks, despite the fact that the government has yet to issue 4G licenses to telecom carriers.
On Tuesday, China Mobile Ltd’s Beijing branch said it would start sales of 4G smartphones on Wednesday. The first batch of 4G handsets includes two models – Sony Corp’s M35T and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy Note 2.
Customers do not need to change their phone numbers but just have to get a new SIM card for their 4G handsets, according to a statement from China Mobile. Fourth-generation wireless networks achieve data download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second, four times faster than 3G networks.
However, the coverage of 4G networks in Beijing is limited, said Gao Shu, a spokeswoman for China Mobile’s Beijing branch. Only people in areas inside the capital’s Third Ring Road will be able to access the network.
“Our 4G smartphones are aimed at high-end, white-collar workers in Beijing,” Gao said.
Before Beijing, a handful of affluent Chinese cities, including Guangzhou and Hangzhou, have started offering 4G services on a trial basis.
China Mobile – the only operator in the country currently testing 4G networks – has adopted the domestic Time Division-Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) 4G technology.
The number of applicants for 4G services is expected to surpass 100,000 in major cities, according to a China Mobile official, who asked not to be named.
Meanwhile, the lack of mature 4G smartphones has long been seen as a major obstacle for the expansion of China Mobile’s 4G business. But the situation has improved in recent months. According to a report from Bank of China International Securities, as of Sept 11, smartphone models received the permission from Chinese authorities to run on 4G networks. The new smartphones are being made by domestic and international companies, including Samsung, Sony, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp, the report said.
“The planned 4G commercial rollout is very good news for China Mobile, as well as for smartphone companies and mobile Internet companies,” said Wang Jun, an analyst with Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.
China Mobile’s net profit dropped 9 percent in the third quarter partly due to the increasing challenges posed by mobile Internet applications such as Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat.
“The 4G business can help the carrier to attract more high-end users from rivals,” Wang said.
Apple Inc has also said that its latest iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C handsets may support TD-LTE technology.
James Yan, an analyst with IDC China, pointed out that the timing for launching 4G services in China is right.
“The environment could not be better. Customers favor smartphones, carriers have the motivation to do 4G services, and distributors know how to sell 4G products to people,” Yan said.
The launch of 4G services in China will definitely be a new driver for the growth of the nation’s smartphone market, he added.
“4G will be an important factor to make people buy new phones,” Yan said.
Ryan Reith, program director at IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said that China has become one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world, accounting for more than one-third of total shipments in the third quarter of the year.

China Mobile to launch all-service brand [China Daily, Nov 20, 2013]

China Mobile Ltd, the nation’s biggest telecom carrier by subscriber numbers, revealed onTuesday that it would officially launch a new brand “He” (And) on Dec 18, mainly targeting the upcoming fourth generation (4G) mobile business.

The new brand’s logo features grass green and peach blossom colors. According to ChinaMobile officials, the company’s current-running brands – GoTone, EasyOwn, M-Zone and G3for 3G mobile services, will be phased out after the launch of “He”.

That means “He” will take the stage as an all-service brand for China Mobile and provide customers with integrated 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services.

Commercial 4G to start December 18 [Shanghai Daily, Nov 25, 2013]

China will start commercial 4G mobile communications services on December 18, bringing the most advanced telecommunications technology to the country’s more than 1 billion mobile users.
China Mobile, the country’s No. 1 mobile operator with over 700 million users, will start 4G services on that date with a new brand He, meaning harmonious in the Chinese language.
China is expected to issue licences for 4G before the telco’s new services start.

“It will be a national event and users are allowed to apply for 4G services without changing numbers,” said a Shanghai Mobile official.

Users in Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing will be the first to enjoy commercial 4G, or fourth generation, services. Shanghai, which is still building a citywide 4G network, will launch the services later.

Though China is the world’s biggest mobile phone market with more than 1 billion users on its mainland, it lacks the 4G technology that is used in some other countries and regions including the United States, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The 4G phone will become rapidly popular on China’s mainland, thanks to the low cost of 4G phones, according to Li Yue, China Mobile’s president, who expects some 4G phones priced below 1,000 yuan (US$162) to appear in the second half of next year.

Apple Inc is also set to introduce iPhones supporting the 4G network in China, industry insiders said. The US giant and China Mobile are in negotiations over the 4G iPhone and they will launch it officially on December 18.
China Telecom and China Unicom are now Apple’s carrier partners for its smartphone on the Chinese mainland.

Apple will partner with China Mobile [CNN YouTube channel, Dec 5, 2013]

Sanford Bernstein Senior Analyst Mark Newman discusses reported China Mobile iPhone deal.

China Mobile still talking to Apple on iPhones [Reuters, Dec 5, 2013 9:27am EST]

Earlier in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the two giants had signed a deal, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter.

We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce,” China Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei said, declining to elaborate. Apple also declined comment.

Moody’s: TD-LTE License Is Credit Positive for China Mobile [Moody’ Global Credit Research announcement, Dec 6, 2013]

Hong Kong, December 06, 2013 — Moody’s Investors Service says that the Chinese government’s decision to issue a Time-Division Long-Term Evolution (TD-LTE), or 4G, license, is credit positive for China Mobile Limited (Aa3 stable) as this will help strengthen its market position in the growing wireless data business.

On 4 December, China Mobile announced that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had granted its parent, China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC, unrated), permission to operate the TD-LTE business and China Mobile will assist CMCC in the construction and operations of the TD-LTE network.

China Mobile is likely to enjoy the first mover advantage in the TD-LTE business as it has been investing in the technology since early 2013, well ahead of its competitors.

China Mobile targets to build over 200,000 commercial-ready base stations and expand its network coverage to 100 major cities by the end of this year. It has already started trials in some of the major cities, including Beijing.

While its two major competitors — such as China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd (China Unicom, unrated) and China Telecom Corporation (unrated) — also obtained TD-LTE licenses at the same time, we expect these companies to only start major investments in 2014.

In fact, these companies plan to use Frequency Division Duplex (FDD)-LTE — an international standard used outside China — as their mainstream 4G technology. However, the FDD-LTE licenses have not yet been granted and any delay in the issuance of the licenses will be advantageous for China Mobile.

Although TD-LTE is a home-grown technology, China Mobile is unlikely to be hampered by the lack of choice in 4G handsets, as was the case with its 3G indigenous technology platform (Time Division-Code Division Multiple Access, or TD-SCDMA).

TD-LTE technology has been accepted internationally, with 59 operators and 54 manufacturers joining the global TD-LTE initiative as of H1 2013. In addition, 25 models of TD-LTE trial devices were launched and over 100 models are under development, of which 15 handsets are intended for commercial use.

Moody’s believes that Apple’s new iPhones have also become technologically compatible with TD-LTE, as well as TD-SCDMA, although China Mobile has not yet started selling iPhones.

The launch of TD-LTE is strategically important for China Mobile to strengthen its market position in the growing wireless data business.

China Mobile had about 759 million customers as of October 2013, of which 176 million were 3G customers. Its 3G subscribers are growing rapidly with over 100% growth since May 2013 on a year-over-year basis.

Moody’s expects its wireless data business to continue its solid growth. The wireless data revenue has grown 62% in H1 2013 on a year-over-year basis. In H1 2013 the business accounted for 17% of its telecommunications services revenue, up from 11% in H1 2012.

However, China Mobile’s market share for 3G services has been much smaller than its overall mobile market share. As of October 2013, its 3G market share was 45% (China Unicom 30% and China Telecom 25%) while its overall mobile market share was 62% (China Unicom 23% and China Telecom 15%), largely because of the use of TD-SCDMA despite the recent improvement in its 3G market share.

Moody’s expects the launch of TD-LTE will help China Mobile improve its market position in the wireless data segment and slow the pace of declines in average revenue per user (ARPU), as the ARPU of data users tends to be higher.

The large investments in TD-LTE will continue to pressure China Mobile’s cash flow. Moody’s expects its adjusted free cash flow (FCF)/debt to fall to below 0% in 2013 and 2014 from over 60% in 2012.

Moody’s expects that the company’s adjusted capital expenditure as a percentage of revenue from telecommunications services will increase to over 30% in 2013 and 2014, from below 25% of its revenue in 2012.

Nevertheless, its overall credit profile will remain in line with its rating, supported by its solid overall operating and financial profiles, as well as its excellent liquidity. For example, Moody’s expects China Mobile’s adjusted debt/EBITDA to remain at approximately 0.3x.

The principal methodology used in this rating was the Global Telecommunications Industry published in December 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on http://www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

China Mobile is the leading provider of mobile telecommunications services in China, offering voice and data services in all 31 provinces and autonomous regions, as well as in Hong Kong. It is 74% owned by CMCC, which in turn is wholly owned by China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.


China Telecom:

LTE/4G DIGITAL CELLULAR MOBILE SERVICE OPERATION PERMIT [China Telecom’s regulatory announcement for Hong Kong Exchange, Dec 4, 2015]

This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 13.09 of the Rules Governing the Listing of the Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong).
 

The Board (the “Board”) of directors of China Telecom Corporation Limited (the “Company”) announced that the Company was notified by China Telecommunications Corporation (the parent company of the Company) that China Telecom has been granted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the PRC the permit to operate the LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (TD-LTE). Meanwhile, China Telecom will apply for the permit to operate the LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (LTE FDD) as soon as practicable.

In order to proactively implement national innovation strategy and leverage collaborated use of different spectrum resources to meet customers’ demand, the Company aims to adopt a flexible approach in deployment of LTE network with one hybrid network of integrated resources. The Company will flexibly deploy the LTE network with regard to data business growth and value chain development. In particular, the LTE deployment would only start from densely populated areas, overlaying on existing superior 3G network for long-term integrated operation. The Company would grasp the rapidly growing data business opportunities with an aim to better enhance customers experience and corporate return.
The Company believes that the issue of 4G digital cellular mobile service operation permit will be beneficial to the sustainable development of the telecommunications industry. It will also foster the informatisation consumption and economic growth. However, it will simultaneously intensify market competition. The Company will proactively leverage its operation edge and strive to foster the sustainable development of its business.
In the meantime, investors are advised to exercise caution in dealing in the securities of the Company.
By Order of the Board
China Telecom Corporation Limited
Wang Xiaochu
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

From Edited Transcript of 2013 Interim Results Investor Presentation and 2013 Interim Results Presentation of Aug 21, 2013:

image

Slide 10: To Deploy LTE Trial Network Timely & Appropriately
To support national technology innovations and allow flexible use of spectrum resources to meet customer demand, we plan to deploy one hybrid LTE network of integrated resources, sharing the core network with wireless access through both TDD and FDD. Thus, most of the LTE network investments would support both TDD and FDD services, offering us flexibility in long term development and return enhancement.
We will continue to fully leverage existing nationwide superior 3G and fibre broadband networks to serve our customers. LTE deployment would only start from densely populated areas.
We plan to flexibly deploy LTE network with regard to future LTE licensing, data business growth & value chain development, overlaying on existing superior 3G network for long-term integrated operation to enhance customer experience & return.

China Telecom to launch TD-LTE trial network construction [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Oct 25, 2013]

According to informed sources, the Ministry has recently approved the China Telecom launched TD-LTE trial network construction and pre-commercial related business. This means that China Telecom 4G future will get two licenses for FDD LTE/TD-LTE network integration.

“China Telecom will use FDD LTE/TD-LTE network integration approach build 4G network.” China Telecom Chairman Mr. Wang had previously publicly stated that “since the frequency is restricting the operator’s core resources in the 4G era, network integration is inevitable.”

A week ago, China Telecom completed the LTE core network master device EPC Jicai tender. It is understood that although China Telecom’s LTE core network master device bidding amount is not large, but the coverage of the country’s 31 provinces, including ZTE, Huawei, Shanghai Bell, Ericsson and other equipment manufacturers, including domestic and international mainstream have received certain share, which, ZTE, Huawei, Shanghai Bell’s winning share is relatively large.

It is understood that the successful vendor device support FDD/TDD multi-mode network, this also shows that China Telecom has begun preparations related to the deployment of TD-LTE.

Late last year, China Telecom in Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities in Guangdong 4G trial, however, was mainly dominated by FDD LTE trial network. The Ministry of approval, indicating that China Telecom has determined will be FDD LTE/TD-LTE 4G mode hybrid network test network construction.

Prior to the introduction, according to Mr. Wang in China Telecom’s 4G network planning, large-scale, wide coverage 4G networks will use FDD standard, while the urban area densely populated areas will use TDD system, using this integrated program will be able to achieve all of the user needs.

In addition, from China Telecom’s terminal planning can be seen that China Telecom in 4G mobile phones mainly uses standard FDD LTE multimode phones, but in the data card is the main use of TD-LTE network resources.


China Unicom:

Announcement LTE/4G Digital Cellular Mobile Service Operation (TD-LTE) Permit [China Unicom’s regulatory announcement for Hong Kong Exchange, Dec 4, 2015]

This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 13.09 of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the “Listing Rules”) and Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571).

On 4 December 2013, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (the “Company”) was notified by its ultimate parent company, China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (中國聯合網絡通信集團有限公司) (“Unicom Parent”), that Unicom Parent has been granted the license to operate LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (TD-LTE) by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China (“MIIT”) on 4 December 2013. MIIT has also granted approval for Unicom Parent to license China United Network Communications Corporation Limited (中國聯合網絡通信有限公司), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, to operate LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (TD-LTE) nationwide in China

Meanwhile, the Company will continue to proactively apply for the launch of LTE FDD technology test run. It aims to leverage on the 3G network in order to provide users with mobile broadband data services with a higher speed.

By Order of the Board
CHINA UNICOM (HONG KONG) LIMITED
CHU KA YEE
Company Secretary

From 2013 Interim Results Presentation as of Aug 8, 2013

image

From INTERIM REPORT 2013 as of August 8, 2013

[p. 3]

To support its sustainable growth in the future, the Company further enhanced its network capabilities with a focus on network architecture as well as mobile, broadband and transmission networks so as to strengthen its network advantages in broadband and mobile Internet. In the first half year, the Company added 33 thousand new 3G base stations, and opened HSPA+ 21Mbps services over the whole 3G network, with speed up to 42Mbps at some urban hot spot areas. The Company accelerated fiber optic deployment. Its broadband access ports increased by 19.9% year-on-year, and FTTH/B accounted for 63% of total access ports, representing an increase of 10 percentage points over the same period last year. In order to better meet the demand from HSPA+, LTE and integrated services, the Company optimised the structure and enhanced the coverage of its infrastructure and transmission networks.

From China’s telecom firms reveal 4G strategies [Xinhuanet, June 27, 2013]

… the other two smaller Chinese telecom operators – China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd – have expressed their willingness to adopt the Frequency Division Duplex-Long Term Evolution, or FDD-LTE, technology, or at least to build a converged network under both standards.

TD-LTE and FDD-LTE are the two major 4G international standards, but the latter has gained more popularity across the globe and has stronger industry support.

Lu Yimin, general manager of China Unicom, said the company is conducting tests for 4G wireless networks with mixed technologies. It is the first time that China Unicom has admitted that it is actively preparing to launch 4G services.

However, Lu added that because the Chinese government has not yet awarded the 4G licenses, China Unicom’s final strategy is still “uncertain.” Lu also made the remarks at Shanghai’s Mobile Asia Expo.

Last weekend, Wang Xiaochu, China Telecom’s chairman, confirmed that the company is stepping up efforts for its LTE network trials.

“It’s inevitable (for China Telecom) to adopt a converged network, since the spectrum is at the core of every carrier’s resources,” Wang said.

China Unicom tests 4G network [China Daily via Xinhuanet, Aug 9, 2013]

China United Network Communications Co Ltd, known as China Unicom, said on Thursday that it has started testing a TD-LTE 4G network, which it will use if the government doesn’t allow it to use its favored FDD-LTE technology in the upcoming 4G licensing process.

China’s second-biggest mobile operator by subscribers is said to have taken the preemptive action because it expects the government to follow a similar strategy as in its 3G auction, when it first awarded licenses for TD-LTE networks, a technology which is mostly backed by its arch-rival China Mobile Ltd, which has the most subscribers in the country.
The government is widely expected to award 4G licenses before the end of the year. And if it licenses TD-LTE networks first, it will give China Mobile a big edge in the 4G market over its competitors.
After reporting a 55 percent jump in its first-half profit, Chang Xiaobing, the company’s chairman, said investment on TD-LTE technology has already started and testing will begin in major cities. Funds will come from Hong Kong-listed China Unicom, rather than from its controlling company China United Network Communications Corp Ltd, which previously funded some of China Unicom’s network tests.
“I expect Beijing to license TD-LTE first, so we have to prepare,” Chang told a news conference in Hong Kong on Thursday.
Beijing favors TD-LTE, or Time-Division Long-Term Evolution, because the network’s core technologies are developed by Chinese companies. The technology was developed specifically for the Chinese market and is expected to serve a quarter of the global market by 2016.
China Unicom’s infrastructure mainly supports FDD-LTE, or Frequency Division Duplexing Long-Term Evolution, which is the world’s dominant 4G technology. Out of the 156 commercial 4G networks operating around the world in March 2013, 142 were FDD-LTE and 14 were TD-LTE networks. China Mobile operates a FDD-LTE network in Hong Kong and is trying to integrate it with the mainland’s TD-LTE market.
Chang said China Unicom’s capital expenditure will stay within the full-year budget of 80 billion yuan (12.96 billion U.S. dollars), despite the planned investment in TD-LTE networks.
Media reports said that China Telecom Corp Ltd, the other major operator in China, will rent China Mobile’s TD-LTE 4G infrastructure. Chang refused to say if China Unicom will do the same.
China Unicom’s first-half profit surged to 5.32 billion yuan compared with 3.43 billion yuan in the same period in 2012. Revenue was up 18.6 percent to 144.3 billion yuan, boosted by a 52 percent increase in income from 3G services to 40.9 billion yuan. The company’s 3G subscribers grew a stunning 74 percent to more than 100 million.
China Unicom shares gained 2.67 percent on Thursday. Trading of the stocks was suspended in the afternoon, after the website of the State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission published the company’s earnings before they were reported to the Hong Kong stock exchange. China Unicom shares surged after the disclosure at around 3:30 pm.
A China Unicom spokesman apologized for the incident and promised it won’t happen again.

China Unicom to procure TD-, FDD-LTE equipment, says report [DIGITIMES, Oct 24, 2013]

China United Network Communications (China Unicom) has started an open-bid process for procuring 34,000 FDD-LTE base stations, 10,000 TD-LTE base stations and 8,000 FDD-LTE small cells, according to China-based tech.sina.com.

Of the mobile telecom carriers in China, China Mobile has adopted TD-LTE only, while China Telecom and China Unicom have adopted FDD LTE as their main 4G standard and TD-LTE as an auxiliary in line with the China government’s policy promoting TD-LTE.

China Telecom procured about 50,000 FDD-LTE base stations and about 20,000 TD-LTE ones in the third quarter of 2013.

Intel is ready to push big in smartphones next year with its winning multimode voice and data, multiband LTE modem technology capable of global LTE roaming via a single SKU

To play it safe the chip is still produced by TSMC (as with Infineon bought in 2011 by Intel) and could continue so in the foreseeable future. 

IDF 2013: Intel CEO shows 22 nanometer-based, LTE smartphone [ITworld YouTube channel, Sept 11, 2013]

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at IDF in San Francisco showed a smartphone based on Intel’s 22 nanometer architecture. He demonstrated a smartphone platform featuring both the Intel XMM 7160 LTE solution and Intel’s next-generation Intel® Atom™ SoC for 2014 smartphones and tablets codenamed “Merrifield.” Based on the Silvermont microarchitecture, “Merrifield” will deliver increased performance (with 50 percent more performance than the previous Clover Trail+ platform), power-efficiency and battery life over Intel’s current-generation offering.

From: Intel’s CEO Discusses Q3 2013 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Oct 15, 2013]

In the Wireless business, I was pleased with our progress on LTE. Our multimode data modem is now available in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. By the end of the year, we expect to have voice-over-LTE versions available for customers and our second generation of voice-over-LTE product with carrier aggregation will be available in the first half of next year.

Intel Webcast – Accelerating Wireless [intelmarkus YouTube channel, Oct 30, 2013]

Thomas Lindner, senior director for Multicomm Marketing and Product Planning at Intel, said that LTE has so far presented unique and demanding challenges for device makers. “There is fragmentation in the market, with over 40 LTE bands in use worldwide, and each country using its own set of bands,” he said. With 15 of these bands in one product, Intel “enables devices to operate on a global basis in all major markets”, he added. The XMM 7160 is also the first generation capable of handling the full data rates supported by today’s 4G networks, according to Lindner, enabling downlink speeds up to 150Mbps. It also has support for Voice over LTE (VoLTE), which means that it can be used to deliver voice calls with better voice quality over LTE networks. Over time, this capability will see 2G and 3G networks phased out and make “legacy cellular technologies obsolete”, Lindner said. “[With the XMM 7160] manufacturers of devices can serve the global market with a single global SKU or small number of SKUs between one and three”, he added. … Lindner disclosed that Intel also plans to deliver a second generation LTE module in 2014. The XMM 7260 will support higher network speeds and additional capabilities such as support for the TD-LTE standard and the ability to combine bands for higher bandwidth. Despite its perceived sluggishness to enter the mobile space, Lindner claimed that Intel is entering the 4G market “just as it’s about to take off”. There are 166 million 4G subscribers in 2013 and this is expected to grow to over 1 billion in 2017, he added.

See also: Intel® XMM™ 7160 Slim Modem [ARK | Your Source for Intel® Product Information, June 23, 2012]

Interview AnandTech with Aicha Evans — Scale & Integration- Addressing the Global Market for LTE [channelintel YouTube channel, Aug 14, 2013]

Interview AnandTech with Aicha Evans — Intel’s Approach to Wireless Innovation [channelintel YouTube channel, Aug 14, 2013]

Background information: Ask the Experts: Intel’s Aicha Evans Talks Wireless and Answers Your Questions [AnandTech, Aug 15, 2013]

Intel proves that it has what it takes when it comes to LTE [By Michael Thelander on Spirent blogs, March 19, 2013]

Signals Research Group (SRG) recently completed its eighth collaborative effort with Spirent Communications and its sixteenth “Chips and Salsa” report on cellular chipsets. In the most recent collaboration, we brought together LTE baseband chipsets from eight different suppliers (Altair Semiconductor, GCT, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Renesas Mobile, Samsung, and Sequans) to determine who has the best performing chipset, based on a series of 32 test scenarios that we derived from industry accepted 3GPP test specifications. SRG facilitated the benchmark study and was responsible for reviewing and analyzing the results. Spirent provided engineering support, and most importantly, the use of its 8100 test system to conduct the automated and highly repeatable tests on each chipset.
The most recent study marked our second benchmark study of LTE chipsets. Previous studies with Spirent have included HSPA+, HSDPA, UMTS call reliability and A-GNSS. To date, we are still recognized as the only independent provider of baseband chipset performance benchmark studies in the industry. And as a testament to our long-standing relationship, the companies that participated in the most recent round are already clamoring for the next round to take place. The companies that came out on top want to prove that they are not a one trick pony and the companies that came out toward the bottom want redemption. The few companies that were not ready to participate in the last study are also ready to enter the competition. There was a reason that we titled the report, “Sweet 16 and never been benchmarked” since some of these companies have been noticeably absent from prior studies due to the uncertain viability of their chipsets.
The results from the most recent round are interesting, to say the least. First, Spirent and SRG were able to bring together numerous pre-commercial and commercial chipsets. I imagine that most people were surprised that Intel actually had a working LTE chipset, let alone find out that it was the best performing chipset (more on this facet in a bit). Additionally, the list included pre-commercial solutions from Sequans, Renesas Mobile and NVIDIA. It would be virtually impossible for any organization to assemble such a line-up!
As I hinted in the title, Intel came out on topbeating the likes of perennial favorite and San Diego native, Qualcomm. To be fair, the results were incredibly close with only a few percentage points separating the two companies, but Intel’s results were better and close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. We could add another activity to the list, but this blog is intended to be family friendly. And if you are assuming that Qualcomm came in second place then you might want to rethink your assumption – nothing we wrote in this blog suggests that they did.
In hindsight, Intel’s results should not be all that surprising since it highly leverages the Infineon 3G platform and stellar RF performance that has since evolved to support LTE under the Intel moniker. Infineon, I note, was always a strong performer in our HSPA+/HSDPA chipset studies and it was in the original 3G iPhone until Qualcomm won the slot, in part due to its ability to support the requirements of a certain North American operator whose name rhymes with Horizon Direless. Intel may have lost the ARM war, but you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
Separate from the overall results, I once again saw some pretty big performance differences among all of the chipsets, in particular for the more challenging fading scenarios. As a side note, in addition to the more basic static channel conditions, our 32 test scenarios included various simulated fading channels (EVA5, EPA5, ETU70, and ETU300), SNR values, and MIMO correlation factors to create a range of challenging, albeit realistic, scenarios. In many cases the variance between the top-performing and bottom-performing LTE baseband chipset exceeded twenty percentage points. Even for the top-performing LTE baseband chipsets, it was clearly evident in the results that some chipsets did better in some scenarios than in other scenarios.
Now that we’ve set the bar for how chipsets should perform, I expect to witness material improvements in our next round, which we have planned for later this year. Just to keep everyone honest, I plan to change the test scenarios for the next round. In the interim, Spirent and SRG are investigating some additional benchmark studies that we can do together. These studies could include the industry’s first independent over-the-air (OTA) testing of leading platforms in commercial devices (imagine Samsung S III versus Apple iPhone 5) as well as our second round of A-GNSS testing.
If you are interested in the published report, please feel free to visit our website at www.signalsresearch.com where you can download a report preview.
Click here for more information on testing LTE chipset and mobile device performance.

From Intel® Mobile Phone System Platform Products and Features

Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform

Multimode LTE & DC-HSPA

Based on Intel® X-GOLD™ 716 digital and analog baseband with integrated Power Management Unit and Intel® SMARTi™ transceiver for 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE, the Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform is the most compact solution for LTE and DC-HSPA smartphones for worldwide deployment.

View the Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform brief > [June 23, 2012]

  • LTE capabilities of 150Mbps and 50Mbps (Cat 4)
  • HSDPA and HSUPA capabilities of 42Mbps and 11.5Mbps with EDGE multislot class 33
  • Multi-band LTE, penta-band 3G, quad-band EDGE for worldwide connectivity
  • Excellent power consumption and extremely small PCB footprint
  • Hardware and software interfaces to applications processors or to a PC as a wireless modem

From the announcement in February 2012 via product launch in Q1’13 to first commercial delivery in October 2013:

From: Intel Expands Smartphone Portfolio: New Customers, Products, Software and Services [press release, Feb 27, 2012]
Addressing the growing handset opportunity in emerging markets where consumers look for more value at lower prices, Intel disclosed plans for the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2000.
The Z2000 is aimed squarely at the value smartphone market segment, which industry sources predict could reach up to 500 million units by 20151.The platform includes a 1.0 GHz Atom CPU offering great graphics and video performance, and the ability to access the Web and play Google Android* games. It also supports the Intel® XMM 6265 3G HSPA+ modem with Dual-SIM 2G/3G, offering flexibility on data/voice calling plans to save on costs. Intel will sample the Z2000 in mid-2012 with customer products scheduled by early 2013.
Building on these 32nm announcements, Otellini discussed how the Atom™ processor will outpace Moore’s Law and announced that Intel will ship 22nm SoCs for carrier certification next year, and is already in development on 14nm SoC technology.
In 2011, Intel shipped in more than 400 million cellular platforms. Building on this market segment position, Intel announced the XMM 7160, an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G platform with support for 100Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink, and support for HSPA+ 42Mbps. Intel will sample the product in the second quarter with customer designs scheduled to launch by the end of 2012.
Intel also announced that it is sampling the XMM 6360 platform, a new slim modem 3G HSPA+ solution supporting 42Mbps downlink and 11.5Mbps uplink for small form factors.
From: Intel Accelerates Mobile Computing Push [press release, Feb 24, 2013]
Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE)
Intel’s strategy is to deliver a leading low-power, global modem solution that works across multiple bands, modes, regions and devices.
The Intel® XMM™ 7160 is one of the world’s smallest2 and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions (LTE / DC-HSPA+ / EDGE), supporting multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and Ultrabook™ systems. The 7160 global modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously, more than any other in-market solution. It also includes a highly configurable RF architecture running real time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life, and global roaming in a single SKU.
“The 7160 is a well-timed and highly competitive 4G LTE solution that we expect will meet the growing needs of the emerging global 4G market,” [Hermann] Eul[, Intel vice president and co-general manager of the Mobile and Communications Group] said. “Independent analysts have shown our solution to be world class and I’m confident that our offerings will lead Intel into new multi-comm solutions. With LTE connections projected to double over the next 12 months to more than 120 million connections, we believe our solution will give developers and service providers a single competitive offering while delivering to consumers the best global 4G experience. Building on this, Intel will also accelerate the delivery of new advanced features to be timed with future advanced 4G network deployments.”
Intel is currently shipping its single mode 4G LTE data solution and will begin multimode shipments later in the first half of this year. The company is also optimizing its LTE solutions concurrently with its SoC roadmap to ensure the delivery of leading-edge low-power combined solutions to the marketplace.

From: Signals Ahead: Chips And Salsa XVI – Sweet 16 And Never Been Benchmarked [Feb 25, 2013] 
Executive Summary

In December 2011 we published the industry’s first performance benchmark study of LTE baseband modem chipsets. In that study we tested five commercially-procured chipsets from four chipset suppliers. We tested two different Qualcomm chipsets. Fast forward fourteen months and we are finally out with the results from our most recent study in which three companies vie for top honors. Intel’s pre-commercial solution was the top-performing solution that we tested.

This report is our sixteenth Chips and Salsa report since 2004, with the overwhelming majority of these reports focused specifically on performance benchmarking. Over the years, we’ve benchmarked UMTS (call reliability) HSDPA, HSPA+, Mobile WiMAX, A-GNSS and LTE chipsets, with the results always providing the industry with a fully independent and objective assessment of how the chipsets compare with each other for the given set of evaluation criteria. For the eighth time, we have collaborated with Spirent Communications to get access to their 8100 test system and engineering support in order to obtain highly objective results.
The significant advantage of conducting lab-based tests is that we can easily replicate and repeat each test scenario in an automated fashion, thus ensuring a common and consistent set of test scenarios for each device/chipset that we tested. And with the Spirent 8100 test system that we used for the tests, we know that we went with a test platform that is widely recognized and being used in several early LTE deployments. SRG takes full responsibility for the analysis and conclusions associated with this benchmarking exercise.
In the most recent round of chipset testing, we tested a seemingly staggering number of solutions – we tested solutions from eight different chipset suppliers (reference Table 1). We attempted to test a solution from HiSilicon, but through no fault of their own we ran into some difficulties and faced time constraints with MWC just around the corner. We reserve the right to publish their results in the near future and provide updated rankings. Many of these solutions were pre-commercial chipsets and/or the chipsets that came directly from the chipset suppliers. This approach ensured that the results that we are providing in this report are very forward looking and highly differentiated. It would be virtually impossible for any single organization to get access to all of these chipsets and replicate this study.
Worth noting, we personally invited all companies with LTE chipset aspirations to participate in this study, and given our history in doing these tests, companies recognize the importance of supporting our efforts. Needless to say, if we didn’t include a company’s LTE chipset in this study then they probably don’t have a solution that is ready to be benchmarked against their peers. It is one thing to issue a press release, demonstrate a working PHY Layer without any upper protocol layers, or show a chipset operating under ideal conditions. It is another situation all together to put your proverbial money where your mouth is and allow a third party to benchmark your solution and publish the results for all to read. Sweet 16 and never been benchmarked!

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As previously alluded to in this report, we used throughput as the primary criteria for evaluating the chipsets. We recognize that device manufacturers and operators use other objective and subjective criteria to select their chipset partners. The criteria includes support for multiple RF bands and legacy technologies, power consumption, time to market, price, engineering support, and the inclusion of peripherals (e.g., application processor, connectivity solutions, etc.). However, no one can dispute the importance of throughput and the ability of the chipset to make the most efficient use of available network resources.
We subjected the chipsets to 32 different test scenarios that combined a mix of fading profiles (Static Channel, EPA5, EVA5, ETU70 and ETU300) and transmission modes (Transmit Diversity, Open Loop MIMO and Closed Loop MIMO). All of the chipsets that we tested performed quite well with the less challenging test scenarios but we observed a fairly large separation of results with the more challenging test scenarios. In many cases the performance difference was in excess of 20% between the top- and bottom-performing solutions.

Based on our highly objective evaluation criteria, Intel had the top-performing solution by a very slight margin. This result may surprise some readers, but we point out that the Infineon 3G solution was always a strong contender in our previous benchmark studies. That scenario is in stark contrast to its application processor which has continuously struggled to be competitive and to attract market share. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. All this and more in this issue of Signals Ahead.

From: Innovation, Reinvention on Intel® Architecture Fuel  Wave of 2-in-1 Devices, New Mobile Computing Experiences [press release, Jun 3, 2013]
Accelerating Fast: Tablets, Smartphones and LTE
Intel’s 22nm low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture is enabling the company to accelerate and significantly enhance its tablet and smartphone offerings.
For tablets on shelves for holiday 2013, Intel’s next-generation, 22nm quad-core Atom SoC (“Bay Trail-T”) will deliver superior graphics and more than two times the CPU performance of the current generation. It will also enable sleek designs with 8 or more hours3 of battery life and weeks of standby, as well as support Android* and Windows 8.1*.
For the first time, [Executive Vice President Tom] Kilroy demonstrated Intel’s 4G LTE multimode solution in conjunction with the next-generation 22nm quad-core Atom SoC for tablets. The Intel® XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest4and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions and will support global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
With a number of phones with Intel silicon inside having shipped across more than 30 countries, Kilroy previewed what’s coming. He showed for the first time a smartphone reference design platform based on “Merrifield,” Intel’s next-generation 22nm Intel Atom SoC for smartphones that will deliver increased performance and battery life. The platform includes an integrated sensor hub for personalized services, as well as capabilities for data, device and privacy protection.
From: Intel Readies ‘Bay Trail’ for  Holiday 2013 Tablets and 2-in-1 Devices [press release, Jun 4, 2013]
At an industry event in Taipei today, Hermann Eul, general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, unveiled new details about the company’s forthcoming Intel®  Atom™ processor-based  SoC for tablets (“Bay Trail-T”) due in market for holiday this year.
Eul also spoke to recent momentum and announcements around the smartphone business and demonstrated the Intel® XMM 7160 multimode 4G LTE solution, now in final interoperability testing (IOT) with Tier 1 service providers across North America, Europe and Asia.

Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE)
Intel’s strategy is to deliver leading low-power, global  modem solutions that work across multiple bands, regions and devices.
Intel’s XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions. The modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously, and also includes a highly configurable RF architecture running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
Eul demonstrated the solution by showcasing a Bay Trail-based tablet over an LTE network connection, and said that Intel will begin shipments of multimode data 4G LTE in the coming weeks following final IOT with Tier 1 service providers in North America, Europe and Asia.

Intel announced that the new Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-inch is powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2560 (“Clover Trail+”). Additionally, the new Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-inch tablet will come equipped with Intel’s XMM 6262 3G modem solution or Intel’s XMM 7160 4G LTE solution.
From: New Intel CEO, President Outline Product Plans, Future of Computing Vision to ‘Mobilize’ Intel and Developers [press release, Sept 10, 2013]
In high-speed 4G wireless data communications, [Intel CEO Brian] Krzanich said Intel’s new LTE solution provides a compelling alternative for multimode, multiband 4G connectivity, removing a critical barrier to Intel’s progress in the smartphone market segment. Intel is now shipping a multimode chip, the Intel® XMM™ 7160 modem, which is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband solutions for global LTE roaming.
As an example of the accelerating development pace under Intel’s new management team, Krzanich said that the company’s next-generation LTE product, the Intel® XMM™ 7260 modem, is now under development. Expected to ship in 2014, the Intel XMM 7260 modem will deliver LTE-Advanced features, such as carrier aggregation, timed with future advanced 4G network deployments. Krzanich showed the carrier aggregation feature of the Intel XMM 7260 modem successfully doubling throughput speeds during his keynote presentation.
He also demonstrated a smartphone platform featuring both the Intel XMM 7160 LTE solution and Intel’s next-generation Intel® Atom™ SoC for 2014 smartphones and tablets codenamed “Merrifield.” Based on the Silvermont microarchitecture, “Merrifield” will deliver increased performance, power-efficiency and battery life over Intel’s current-generation offering.

Intel Announces First Commercial Availability of 4G LTE Modem; Introduces Module for 4G Connected Tablets and Ultrabooks™ [press release, Oct 30, 2013]

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

  • Intel® XMM™ 7160 LTE modem is now shipping in the 4G version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1) – available in Asia and Europe.
  • Intel® XMM™ 7160 provides multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) voice and data with simultaneous support for 15 LTE bands for global LTE roaming.
  • Intel announces PCIe M.2 LTE wireless data modules expected to ship in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook™ designs from leading manufacturers.

Intel Corporation today announced the commercial availability of its multimode, multiband 4G LTE solution. The Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform is featured in the LTE version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1)*, now available in Asia and Europe.
Intel has also expanded its portfolio of 4G LTE connectivity solutions, introducing PCIe (PCI Express) M.2 modules for 4G connected tablets, Ultrabooks™ and 2 in 1 devices as well as an integrated radio frequency (RF) transceiver module, the Intel® SMARTi™ m4G. These new products make it simple, efficient and cost effective for device manufacturers to add high performance wireless connectivity to their product designs.
“As LTE networks expand at a rapid pace, 4G connectivity will be an expected ingredient in devices from phones to tablets as well as laptops,” said Hermann Eul, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group. “Intel is providing customers an array of options for fast, reliable LTE connectivity while delivering a competitive choice and design flexibility for the mobile ecosystem.”
The commercial availability of the Intel XMM 7160 solution follows successful interoperability testing with major infrastructure vendors and tier-one operators across Asia, Europe and North America. The Intel XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode, multiband LTE solutions for phones and tablets. The solution provides seamless connectivity across 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks,supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously and is voice-over LTE (VoLTE) capable. It features a highly configurable RF architecture, running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
Intel offers a broad portfolio of mobile platform solutions including SoCs, cost-optimized integrated circuits, reference designs and feature-rich software stacks supporting 2G, 3G and 4G LTE. Building on the Intel XMM 7160 platform, Intel today announced two multimode LTE solutions that pave the way for 4G connected devices in a variety of form factors.
New Intel PCIe M.2 LTE Modules and Intel SMARTi m4G Solution
Intel introduced Intel PCIe M.2 LTE modules, which are small, cost-effective, embedded modules in a standardized form factor for adding multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) data connectivity across a variety of device types. The Intel M.2 module supports peak downlink speeds of 100Mbps over LTE. The modules support up to 15 LTE frequency bands for global roaming. In addition, those modules also feature support for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) based on the Intel CG1960 GNSS solution.
For manufacturers, the M.2 module makes it simple to add 4G connectivity to their designs while reducing integration and certification expenses, and improving time-to-market. The M.2 module is currently undergoing interoperability testing with tier-one global service providers. Intel M.2-based modules will soon be available from Huawei*, Sierra Wireless* and Telit*. These modules are expected to ship globally in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook designs from leading manufacturers.
imageIn addition to the new M.2 LTE module, Intel also offers the new Intel SMARTi m4G a highly integrated radio transceiver module. The Intel SMARTi m4G was developed in cooperation with Murata* and integrates the Intel SMARTi 4G transceiver with most front-end components in one LTCC (low temperature co-fired ceramic) package. When paired with the Intel® X-GOLD™ 716 baseband, manufacturers can meet the certification requirements of service providers with minimal design cycles in an easy-to-place, low-profile solution. With the Intel SMARTi m4G, the overall component count can be reduced by more than 40 components and the required PCB area is reduced up to 20 percent.
Intel plans to deliver next-generation LTE solutions, including the Intel® XMM™ 7260 in 2014. The Intel XMM 7260 adds LTE Advanced features, such as carrier aggregation, faster speeds and support for both TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA. More information about Intel’s mobile communications solutions is available at http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/wireless-products/mobile-communications.html.

See also: Intel Talks about Multimode LTE Modems – XMM7160 and Beyond [AnandTech, Aug 20, 2013] from which I will include here:

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XMM7160 is still built on TSMC’s 40nm CMOS process, and its SMARTi 4G transceiver is built on 65nm at TSMC, but Intel still claims it has a 20–30% power advantage for modem and RF compared to a competitor smartphone platform, though it wouldn’t say which. … The transition of modem to Intel Architecture (away from two different DSP architectures) also remains to be seen, and I’m told it will be two to three years before Intel’s modems are ready to intercept the Intel fabrication roadmap and get built on Intel silicon instead of at TSMC. …

From: Mobile Wireless M2M Value Proposition Product Portfolio and Roadmap for M2M 2G-4G [Intel presentation, Nov 26, 2012]

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The Upcoming Mobile Internet Superpower

download this PDF-format mini e-book
(now with an extensive follow-up & ‘The global forces behind …’ analysis, later in this post)

Subtitle:
China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web

Put* together by Sándor Nacsa in August 2013

This mini e-book is a follow-up to the findings of “China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web” [Aug 5, 2013] post from my trend-tracking blog “Experiencing the Cloud”, as well as the following posts which lead to those findings:

IMT-Advanced (4G) for the next-generations of interactive mobile services, China is triumphant [Oct 24, 2010]
Good TD-LTE potential for target commercialisation by China Mobile in 2012 [July 13, 2011 – Feb 8, 2012]
TD-SCDMA: US$3B into the network (by the end of 2012) and 6 million phones procured (just in October)[ Oct 18, 2011]
China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, 2011]
MWC 2012: the 4G/LTE lightRadio network [Oct 16, 2012]
China: 20,000 TD-LTE base stations in 13 cities by the end of 2012 and about 200,000 base stations in 100 cities launched in 2013 with the 2.6GHz TDD spectrum planning just started—SoftBank with TD-LTE strategy in Japan getting into global play with Sprint (also the 49% owner of US TD-LTE champion, Clearwire) acquisition [Oct 16, 2012]

download this PDF-format mini e-book

Now an extensive FOLLOW-UP
(& ‘The global forces behind …’ analysis after that)

China emerging as ‘mobile only’ in sharp contrast to the US multiscreen market [DIGITIMES, Aug 19, 2013]

With smartphone penetration still in the early stages in China, a new study indicates that the country could become a “one screen nation,” outpacing the US in consumers who use smartphones as their sole or primary media device, according to research developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Interactive Internet Advertising Committee of China (IIACC).
The research revealed that media consumption is more impacted by smartphone ownership in China. More than a quarter of China-based smartphone owners report less TV watching and reduced print consumption as a result of owning a mobile connected device (28% and 27% respectively). In comparison to their US counterparts, China-based smartphone owners are 86% more likely to report less TV usage and 42% more likely to report less print usage.
In contrast to China smartphone owners’ concentrated focus on the small screen, US smartphone owners are much more likely to consume other media with their mobile devices in hand. For example, while watching TV, smartphone users report participating in Internet communication (51% US vs. 10% China), reading social media (38% US vs. 9% China), and conducting a local search (34% US vs. 8% China). The data shows similar disparities when it comes to reading print media, the research found.
The two firms said the research also illustrates Americans’ greater dependency on their smartphones as devices that they would “never leave home without” (69%). In comparison, merely 6% of their China counterparts said the same. Approximately one-third (34%) of Americans said that their smartphone is the “first thing I reach for when I wake up,” as opposed to 7% of China-based smartphone owners.
China-based consumers are also more apt to use their smartphones for web browsing than Americans (32% China vs. 21% US), the research found. More than one fifth (23%) of China-based respondents said that they spent three hours or more per day in the last week accessing the Internet with their smartphones. The top reason they cited for turning to their smartphones was “entertainment.”

Slush 2012: Keynote by John Lindfords (Digital Sky Technologies – DST) [startupsauna YouTube channel, Nov 24, 2013]

Nov 21, 2012 [16:30-16:50]: John Lindfors of DST chats about how the Internet and especially mobile are changing the world as well as the ample startup opportunities that ensue out of that unprecedented connectedness. But what has he to say of Asia’s perception of European startup activity? John Lindfors is a Partner of Digital Sky Technology (DST) and Managing Director of the Asian office in Hong Kong. He joined DST in 2010. Prior to joining DST, he was the Partner in charge of the European Technology and Media department for Goldman Sachs. He joined Goldman Sachs in London in 1993 and worked in London and New York during his 17 years at the firm focusing on the technology and media sectors. John has a M.Sc. (Econ) from the Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki.

How Social Media & E-Commerce Operate in China [Tim Swanson YouTube channel, Aug 13, 2013]

Tim Swanson, author of Great Wall of Numbers, interviews Matt Garner, a seasoned China specialist about companies such as Tencent and Alibaba — the giants of the Chinese Internet. Matt worked for a brand marketing consulting company and large NGO in Shanghai and is an expert on Chinese web trends and market analysis. Website: http://www.ofnumbers.com

China’s E-Commerce Boom: Millennials Shop Alibaba & ASOS [ForaTv YouTube channel, Aug 3, 2013]

Full video available at: http://fora.tv/2013/07/11/Around_the_World_in_Almost_10_Slides Matt Hiscock, senior vice president for ASOS US, describes how the fashion e-commerce company plans to work with the demands of shoppers in China.

Weibo: How Chinese Microblogs Sneak Fashion Past Censors [ForaTv YouTube channel, June 14, 2013]

Full video available for purchase at: http://fora.tv/2013/05/21/Do_in_Rome_as_the_Romans_Do_-_Winning_Strategy_in_a_Fast-Changing_Market Executive vice president of Shanghai Jahwa United Co. Ltd. Hua Fang shows how microblogging tools like Weibo – the equivalent of Twitter in China – are helping to globalize brands.

Alibaba investment spooks some of China’s online shoppers [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 4, 2013]

Aug. 5 – E-commerce giant Alibaba’s investment in the Weibo microblogging service has resulted in users being bombarded with targeted ads for everything from bikinis to coffins. Anita Li examines the reaction.

Chinese Tech Giant Sets Sights on $265 Billion “Smart TV” Market [TheMotleyFool YouTube channel, July 24, 2013]

It’s no secret that the television will be the next great tech battleground. But what is less clear— and what will ultimately prove most profitable to tech-oriented investors— is what company will be the last one standing. Motley Fool analyst Lyons George discusses Alibaba, a Chinese Internet giant that deals in e-commerce, online auctions, and— as early this week— “smart television” operating systems. With an IPO expected any day now, Alibaba’s entrance into the projected $265 billion next-gen TV market is raising investor eyebrows around the globe.

In China smartphone market, cheap rules – and Apple suffers [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 19, 2013]

Aug. 19 – Apple’s seen its market share in China dwindle as homegrown smartphone makers crank out feature-packed budget models. Could the launch of a cheaper iPhone restore its flagging fortunes?

FACTBOX: Will China Mobile deal widen Apple’s wedge? [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 20, 2013]

Aug. 20 – Apple is losing market share to cheaper rivals in China. But a tie-up with top carrier China Mobile seems to be getting closer, and could quickly alter the country’s billion-strong playing field.

‘Broadband China’ aims to speed up network [CCTV News YouTube channel, Aug 18, 2013]

In its emphasis on ensuring that information technology becomes a key driver of growth, China has unveiled its new Broadband China strategy. As in the US, and Europe, the goal is that faster broadband should result in greater industrial efficiency, and, convenience for households.

More foreign carriers to deploy TD-LTE [China Daily video published on March 14, 2012 via SPHRazorTV YouTube channel]

March 14, 2012: Wang Jianzhou, Chairman of China Mobile Communications Corporation and a CPPCC member, talked about the current situation of TD-LTE’s development and promotion as an international 4G standard.

TD-LTE Subscriptions to Surpass 500 Million by 2017, Representing Annual TD-LTE Operator Service Revenues of $91 Billion Worldwide [Research and Markets announcement via PRNewswire, Aug 16, 2013]

More than 50 mobile carriers worldwide have so far committed to TDD LTE technology, and over 30 OEMs have commercially launched TD-LTE compatible devices, with a major proportion of these devices supporting both FDD and TDD modes of operation.
This forecast datasheet presents revenue and shipment market size and forecasts for both infrastructure and devices, along with subscription and service revenue projections for the LTE market as a whole, as well as separate projections for the TD-LTE and FDD-LTE sub-markets from 2012 through to 2017. Historical figures are also presented for 2010 and 2011, along with vendor market share data.
Driven by large scale TDD spectrum availability and the technology’s lower deployment costs, the industry witnessed several prominent TD-LTE network deployments in late 2011 and early 2012, including Softbank in Japan, Etisalat Mobily and STC in Saudi Arabia, and Bharti Airtel in India. More recently, in October 2012, the TD-LTE ecosystem received a major boost when China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that the entire 190 MHz of spectrum in the 2.5/2.6 GHz band will be allocated for TD-LTE deployments in China, which harmonizes its TDD spectrum with Japan and the US, two major LTE markets.
These developments could allow the TD-LTE ecosystem to reach significant economies of scale, boosting further infrastructure and device investments in TD-LTE technology.

20130430 SoftBank、Sprintについての会見。質疑最終部分と囲み [Tamotsu Hashimoto YouTube channel, May 1, 2013]

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son arguing against Dish Network counteroffer to acquire Sprint.

Sprint shareholders approve $21 6 billion deal with SoftBank [KansasCityNews YouTube channel, news article and video on June 25, video published via YouTube on Aug 13, 2013]

By combining their interests, Sprint and SoftBank hope to be able to negotiate better deals with network equipment companies, cellphone makers and lenders. Their aim is turning Sprint into a stronger competitor for Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Sprint and SoftBank’s plans rely heavily on valuable wireless spectrum controlled by Clearwire Corp. Spectrum are the licensed airwaves that carry video, downloads and other data-heavy activity of smartphone customers. Sprint has a deal to buy the roughly half of Clearwire it doesn’t already own for $5 a share. The Clearwire merger is part of the plans Sprint and SoftBank submitted to the FCC’s review. Clearwire shareholders vote July 8 on the merger with Sprint. Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/25/4311893/sprint-shareholders-approve-deal.html#storylink=cpy

Sprint CFO: SoftBank deal lets us take Clearwire spectrum nationwide [FierceWireless, July 30, 2013]

Sprint (NYSE:S) will be able to deploy Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz spectrum for TD-LTE service on a nationwide basis now that it is flush with fresh capital from SoftBank, which now controls 78 percent of Sprint, according to Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer. Sprint formally took control of Clearwire earlier this month.
Steve Elfman, president of network operations at Sprint, noted during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call that Sprint now plans to deploy Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz spectrum on all 38,000 of its planned Network Vision cell sites and even more sites than that in a nationwide rollout. Previously, Sprint had said it would use Clearwire’s spectrum as a “hotspot” LTE network to offload traffic in urban markets.
In an interview with FierceWireless, Euteneuer said SoftBank’s $21.6 billion acquisition–which includes $5 billion in new capital and allowed Sprint to buy Clearwire–spurred Sprint to make the shift in strategy. The move will let Sprint add more capacity to its own FDD-LTE network, which it is still in the process of being built out. Euteneuer noted that Sprint and Clearwire originally planned to deploy Clearwire’s spectrum on around 5,000 cell sites as an offload network in urban markets. Those plans are still proceeding this year, but Sprint now wants to expand that to improve the customer experience.
“Now that we own 100 percent of Clearwire, with the help of SoftBank, we said, how do we take full advantage of the 2.5 GHz spectrum?” Euteneuer said. “The best way to do that is to have it fully integrated with the rest of your spectrum capabilities. And to do that you really need to put it on every tower.”
The Sprint CFO said because of the weaker propagation characteristics of 2.5 GHz, Sprint will deploy small cells and other sites beyond the 38,000 Network Vision sites the company has mapped out. He said it is unclear at this point if the nationwide deployment of Clearwire’s spectrum will be finished by the end of 2014. Clearwire commands around 160 MHz of spectrum in the top 100 markets.
It is unclear exactly how many TD-LTE cell sites using Clearwire’s spectrum will be online by year-end. Iyad Tarazi, head of network development and integration for Sprint, recently told CNET that Sprint will have 5,000 Clearwire sites on air by year-end, but on Tuesday Elfman was less specific, and said “we’ll have several thousand sites up this year because of the work that Clearwire was doing before us.”
“We are working with Clearwire on plans and will share more soon,” Sprint spokeswoman Roni Singleton said in a follow-up statement.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said the deployment of a nationwide LTE network on 2.5 GHz will help give Sprint “competitive parity” with its rivals. “And the important thing in terms of what we believe will be a better, a superior network experience will depend upon how quickly we roll out the 2.5 [GHz spectrum], because that will give us extraordinary capacity and some speed and performance advantages in the market,” he said. …

Xiaomi CEO: Don’t call us China’s Apple [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 15, 2013]

Aug. 15 – China’s Xiaomi has sparked a frenzy with a low-cost smartphone that may help the tech firm widen its lead over Apple in the local market — but CEO Lei Jun says it has very different ambitions.

China’s Tencent tops leaderboard, but rivals loom [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 15, 2013]

Aug. 15 – China’s biggest Internet firm, Tencent, has been signing up users and burning up the stock charts. But its recent results point to a tougher future marked by higher costs and tougher competition.

WeChat, Made-in-China Messaging App Grows in Popularity [CCTV News YouTube channel, July 30, 2013]

As SMS messaging continues to grow, more and more players has entered this competitive space. One of those grabbing a bigger and bigger share of this market is the App – WeChat – owned by the Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. WeChat is currently the number one messaging App in China. Follow us on Twitter/Facebook/WeChat @CCTVNEWS

Tencent Corporate Video [Alison Lee YouTube channel, Aug 6, 2013]

 


The global forces behind the overall setup of Chinese Internet giants:

China’s doors may be closed to social network company Facebook, but for its pre-IPO investor DST Global, the gates are wide open.
As a result, the firm has managed to invest about $1.5 billion into China-based companies over the past four years, translating into around half the amount of capital it has invested worldwide, Partner John Lindfors told Venture Capital Dispatch.
Unlike some foreign investors, DST Global is happy to take a minority shareholding in portfolio companies, and being a late-stage investor with the ability to write bigger checks, it has also encountered less competition among China-focused investors when targeting new deals.
“We don’t want to take control. If you think about it, some of the most successful companies have been run by their owners. We’re trying to find the next Bill Gates, and back him,” said Lindfors.
DST Global counts Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and online retailer Jingdong Mall as part of its Asian portfolio. DST, alongside other private equity firms like Silver Lake agreed to buy shares in Alibaba at a tender offer of $1.6 billion in 2011. That same year, DST Global also participated in a $1.5 billion third round of funding in Jingdong, with media reports stating that DST bought a 5% share in the online retailer for $500 million.
Although DST Global spent around $1.5 billion on both of those deals, said Lindfors, he noted that the firm is also “happy” to invest far less in a deal, even from $50 million, as deal sizes in China can often be smaller due to the general market size.
Other firms active in China’s Internet space include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, which typically target lesser-sized deals than DST Global, opening the playing field for the Russian investment firm.  In fact, KPCB China Investment Partner Wei Zhou last year told Venture Capital Dispatch that it had even started investing in pre-Series A deals.
DST Global, headed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, expects to invest in a “few” more deals in the next year or two across China’s Internet sector, specifically in e-commerce and mobile Internet, on expectations that growing domestic consumption and increasing users of mobile devices will bolster growth in these areas, said Lindfors.
“We see an explosion of smartphone usage,” said Lindfors. Indeed, industry insiders, including Kai Fu Lee, founder of Chinese investment firm Innovation Works, predict China will have 500 million smartphone users by the end of this year, jumping up from the current 330 million.
On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, DST Global has invested in the likes of Twitter and now-Nasdaq-listed Facebook–which faces restricted use in China–and manages three funds. Last year, Bloomberg reported that DST Global was raising $1 billion for a new technology fund, and separately reported that DST Global I achieved an annual 151% gross internal rate of return. Lindfors declined to comment on the firm’s funds.
DST Global likes other countries across Asia such as Indonesia and India, but for the meantime, opportunities are too early stage, said Lindfors, who previously worked at investment bank Goldman Sachs.
DST Global, which has an Asia-based office in Hong Kong, was set up by entrepreneur Milner, and is best known for investing $200 million in Facebook in 2009, and then a subsequent round in 2011 worth $500 million with Goldman Sachs.

Milner Discusses Social Networking Companies, Facebook: Video [Bloomberg YouTube channels, March 23, 2012]

Yuri Milner, chief executive officer of Digital Sky Technologies, talks with Bloomberg’s Cris Valerio about his company’s investment strategy in social-networking companies like Facebook Inc. Digital Sky is a privately held company investing in Internet related companies. Bloomberg’s Betty Liu also speaks.

2012 – My Recipe for a Better Tomorrow – Mr. Yuri Milner [PresidentialConf YouTube channel, June 24, 2012]

The fourth Israeli Presidential Conference, Facing Tomorrow 2012. Plenary: My Recipe for a Better Tomorrow. Speaker: Mr. Yuri Milner.

Encouraging Innovation – Yuri Milner at European Zeitgeist 2011 [zeitgeistminds YouTube channel, May 17, 2011]

Yuri Milner talks about his primary aims, which include finding investors for new businesses and to encouraging innovation. He calls social a dominant theme and says that innovation happens when there is concentration and a critical mass.

Юрий Мильнер с 2005 года началась эра социального Интернета [Umid Matnazarov YouTube channel, Sept 20, 2011]

Президент компании Digital Sky Technologies Юрий Мильнер – член президентской комиссии по модернизации и технологическому развитию экономики. В интервью “Вестям” он рассказал о направлениях работы комиссии и о тенденциях развития Интернета.

Alibaba Said to Have Applied for HK Listing [The China Perspective, July 23, 2013]

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China’s dominant e-commerce service provider, has lodged its application for listing at the Hong Kong stock exchange aimed at raising up to $20 billion, Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily reported. The company is expected to float in October with a valuation of $100 billion. Approximately $7 billion from the money raised will be used to buy back Alibaba’s share owned by Yahoo! Inc (Nasdaq: YHOO), the source said. Alibaba delisted its B2B site Alibaba.com a year ago in preparation for the initial public offering of the group as a whole. Its Taobao.com is China’s top C2C site; its Tmall.com is China’s top B2C site; its Alipay is China’s top third party billing service provider. Japan’s Softbank is Alibaba’s largest shareholder, holding a 35% stake; Yahoo owns 23%, Alibaba’s management owns 24.7%; some private equities and institutional investors own 10.3%; its founder Jack Ma owns 7%.

Masayoshi Son [Wikipedia]

Masayoshi Son (Japanese: 孫 正義 Hepburn: Son Masayoshi?, Korean: 손정의 Son Jeong-ui; born August 11, 1957) is a Japanese businessman and the founder and current chief executive officer of SoftBank, the chief executive officer of SoftBank Mobile, and current chairman of Sprint Corporation. According to Forbes magazine, his net worth is $8.1 billion as of 2011 and he is the second richest man in Japan,[1] despite having the distinction of losing the most money in history (approximately $70 billion during the dot com crash of 2000). [2] Forbes also describes him as a philanthropist.

Masayoshi Son is known for his extreme persistence to achieve his business goals. As example, when Japan’s Post and Telecommunications Ministry denied his application for a particular telecommunications license, he is reported[3][4] to have threatened to set himself on fire inside the Ministry if his company is not awarded the desired license (however, he is reported[5] not have brought any fuel along to back up his threat).

Former Amazon manager takes Chinese e-commerce company global [GeekWire, Aug 16, 2013]

Watch out, Amazon.com. A Chinese e-commerce company is out to redefine notions of customer service. If you think free shipping in two days is fast, how about in three hours?
In cities across China, customers can order everything from fresh produce to a new laptop, get it delivered for free the same day, pay cash on delivery and even refuse the goods at the door if they fail to meet expectations.
It’s all part of a strategy of JD.com (formerly 360buy) to become China’s largest e-commerce company and expand globally. China’s booming and highly competitive e-commerce market gets more interesting all the time, and JD.com is a major player to watch.
JD.com stands for parent company Jingdong, which has grown to become China’s largest online company that sells directly to consumers, with 100 million registered users, 5 million orders a day, and a whopping 60 billion RMB in sales ($10 billion) in 2012. The company rebranded itself earlier this year and may be planning a U.S. IPO.
Jingdong Vice President and General Manager Shi Tao, who spent more than three years working for Amazon China, visited Seattle this week to introduce the company and meet with prospective customers and partners.
JD.com operates differently than its major competitor, Alibaba’s Tmall, in that Jingdong spent years building its own network of warehouses and fulfillment centers, allowing it to manage its own delivery rather than simply matching buyers and sellers or relying on third parties to ship the goods.
“Chinese consumers want to shop on the platform with the best experience, especially shipping and post-sales customer services,” Shi said. In May Jingdong introduced nighttime and three-hour delivery services in six Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan and Shenyang. The company offers same-day delivery in 27 major cities and next-day delivery in more than 150 cities across China.

Tmall is still the leading B2C company in China overall, with more than 51 percent of the market, compared to Jingdong’s 17 percent, according to iResearch. Amazon China has about 2 percent of that market.

China’s e-tailing industry has posted 120 percent annual growth since 2003, and online sales in China could reach $650 billion by 2020, according to McKinsey Global Institute.

What was not mentioned in the DST/Lindfors interview earlier:

DST has strong ties to
DST’s partners and employees
Goldman Sachs. Alexander Tamas
in 2008 and John Lindfors,
Goldman Sachs, joined DST in
employees include Rahul Mehta and
2011, DST has orchestrated an
brought Goldman Sachs into the
Goldman Sachs. The majority of
have previously worked at
joined DST from Goldman Sachs
a previous partner at
2010. Other ex-Goldman Sachs
Shou Zi Chew. In January
investment into Facebook and
deal.

From Digital Sky Technologies is …

Asia Awards: VC Deal of the Year – Xiaomi [Asian Venture Capital Journal, Dec 5, 2012]

Validation of Xiaomi’s approach was provided by Yuri Milner of DST Advisors who led a $216 million third round of funding in June – valuing the company at $4 billion – with Government of Singapore Investment Corp. (GIC) also involved.

DST Founder Yuri Milner Invests in Xiaomi [Tech In Asia, Dec 23, 2011]

We already knew Xiaomi had scored $90 million RMB in new financing — they announced that at their press conference with China Unicom on Tuesday — but Lei Jun has now revealed on Weibo where at least some of that money came from: DST founder Yuri Milner.

Xiaomi’s market value could reach US$10bn after new financing [WantChinaTimes.com, July 28, 2013]

Xiaomi Technology, a Chinese manufacturer of own-brand budget smartphones, will soon launch another round of financing worth more than US$2 billion, with insiders suggesting the main investor will be Russian venture capital firm Digital Sky Technologies (DST), the Shanghai-based First Financial Daily reports.

Leading Chinese internet firm Tencent Holdings invested US$300 million in DST in April 2010 and would therefore become an indirect investor in Xiaomi, the report said, though both Tencent and Xiaomi have declined to comment.

Rumor: Tencent Invests in Xiaomi via Russian VC [Marbridge Consulting, July 23, 2013]

According to industry insiders, Beijing-based Android handset developer Xiaomi has secured a new round of funding exceeding USD 2 bln from Chinese internet and mobile services firm Tencent (0700.HK), with Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies (DST) acting as an intermediary.

The latest round of funding values Xiaomi at approximately USD 10 bln.

Tencent Invests $300m in DST and Establishes Strategic Partnership [Tencent press release, April 12, 2010]

Tencent Holdings Limited (“Tencent” or the “Company”, SEHK 00700), a leading provider of Internet and mobile & telecommunications value-added services in China, and Digital Sky Technologies Limited (“DST”), one of the largest Internet companies in the Russian-speaking and Eastern European markets, today jointly announced that Tencent will invest approximately US$300 million in DST, thereby establishing a long-term strategic partnership between the two companies.
The aggregate consideration of approximately US$300 million, which will be paid in cash, gives Tencent approximately a 10.26% economic interest in DST upon completion of the transaction. Tencent will hold approximately 0.51% of the total voting power of DST and have the right to nominate one observer to the DST Board.
DST and Tencent will embark on a long-term partnership and co-operation as they seek to benefit from each other’s insights gained from their respective markets. DST’s deep understanding of the Russian Internet market, together with its leading brands such as Mail.ru, Odnoklassniki and VKontakte, will enable Tencent to benefit from the high growth of the Russian-speaking Internet market. At the same time, Tencent’s leading position in China will provide DST and its companies with unique and valuable operational insights and access to its regional network that can help DST further accelerate its growth path.
Chief Executive Officer of DST, Mr. Yuri Milner, said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome Tencent as a shareholder in DST. This investment is a vote of confidence in DST from the market leader in China and one of the world’s most successful and dynamic Internet companies overall. Our teams share many common views and beliefs and a clear vision about the significant opportunities that lay ahead. We look forward to working together with Tencent and benefiting from their expertise as we both push forward with our plans to capitalize on this immense growth in our markets.”
President of Tencent, Mr. Martin Lau, said, “We are excited to enter into a long-term strategic partnership with DST, a key global Internet player and a leader in Russian-speaking Internet markets. The investment allows us to benefit from the fast-growing Internet market in Russia, as well as to leverage our technical and operational know-how to strengthen the leadership position of DST and explore new business opportunities in the Russian-speaking Internet markets.”
Details of the transaction can also be obtained from the statutory disclosure documents available on http://www.hkexnews.hk website and http://www.tencent.com/ir .
About Digital Sky Technologies
DST was founded in 2005 and is one of the largest Internet companies in the Russian-speaking and Eastern European markets and one of the leading investment groups globally to exclusively focus on internet related companies. DST, together with its affiliate DST Global, also hold stakes in Internet world leaders such as Facebook and Zynga. DST is a privately held company backed by leading Russian and Western financial institutions. For more information please visit http://www.dst-global.com .
About Tencent
Tencent aims to enrich the interactive online experience of Internet users in China by providing a comprehensive range of Internet and wireless value-added services. Through its various online platforms, including Instant Messaging QQ, web portal QQ.com, QQ Game portal, multi-media social networking service Qzone and wireless portal, Tencent services the largest online community in China and fulfills the user’s needs for communication, information, entertainment and e-Commerce on the Internet.
Tencent has three main streams of revenues: Internet value-added services, mobile and telecommunications value-added services and online advertising.
Shares of Tencent Holdings Limited are traded on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, under stock code 00700. The Company became one of the 43 constituents of the Hang Seng Index (HSI) on June 10, 2008. For more information, please visit http://www.tencent.com/ir .

Naspers makes strategic investment in DST [press release, July 14, 2010]

DST to assume full control of Mail.ru upon share swap with Naspers
Johannesburg and Moscow, 14 July 2010 – Naspers Limited (“Naspers”), the broad based international media group, and Digital Sky Technologies Limited (“DST”), one of the largest internet companies in the Russian-speaking markets, announces today that Naspers’s subsidiary Myriad International Holdings B.V. (“MIH”) will take a 28,7% stake in DST. The transaction will be effected by Naspers contributing its 39,3% stake in Mail.ru into DST and investing US$388m in cash. Concurrently, Mail.ru management and other minorities will also convert their shares into DST.
Upon the close of this transaction, DST will own over 99,9% of Mail.ru. Mail.ru is the leading communication and entertainment platform in the Russian-speaking internet world, with over 50m registered email accounts, leading market share in MMO games and one of the leading social networks in Russia.
Naspers and DST have worked closely together over the past three years as co-owners of Mail.ru and today’s transaction will enable them to further strengthen that relationship.
Chief Executive Officer of DST, Yuri Milner, said, “Naspers’s strategic insight has already proven to be valuable in our partnership and we welcome the expertise they will bring to DST. We are delighted to announce this transaction and look forward to creating further value through our relationship.”
Antonie Roux, head of Naspers’s internet operations, commented: “We have known DST and its management for years and we share a similar view and approach. We are excited to strengthen our partnership. This opportunity further expands our exposure to emerging markets and the fast-growing internet sector.”
About Digital Sky Technologies
DST was founded in 2005 and is one of the largest internet companies in the Russian-speaking and Eastern European markets and one of the leading investment groups globally to exclusively focus on internet related companies. DST, together with its affiliate DST Global, also holds stakes in internet world leaders such as Facebook, Zynga and Groupon. DST is a privately held company backed by leading international financial institutions and companies. For more information please visit http://www.dstglobal.com.
About Naspers
Naspers is a leading emerging market media group operating in 129 countries. It is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE), with an ADR (American Deposit Receipt) listing on the London Stock Exchange. The group’s principal operations are in internet platforms (focusing on commerce, communities, content, communication and games), pay-television and the provision of related technologies and print media (including publishing, distribution and printing of magazines, newspapers and books). The group’s most significant operations in emerging markets include South Africa and subSaharan Africa, China, Central and Eastern Europe, India, Brazil, Russia and Thailand. For more information visit http://www.naspers.com.

imageTencent (700 HK) [RHB OSK Securities (Thailand) report, Aug 15, 2013]

Internet – Online Games and Media
Market Cap: USD88,608m

Shareholders (%)
MIH China (Naspers)         33.9
Ma Huateng [Pony Ma]     10.2
JP Morgan                             4.5

Good WeChat progress. The pace of development on Tencent’s mobile social platform WeChat has exceeded our expectations since its launch. Monthly active users (MAU) breached 236m in 2Q13 (1Q13: 194m) while new services such as sticker sales, targeted ads and the first game released on the platform, TTAXC (天天爱消除), showed monetisation potential.

image

Online advertising is a major earnings driver at the gross profit level.

SWOT Analysis

image

Company Profile
Tencent is a leading internet conglomerate in China with operations in online games, social networks, advertising and e-commerce. The company operates leading online games in China while its mobile chat application, which has expanded globally, has a user base exceeding 300m.

Naspers Fact Sheet June 2013:

Business overview
Founded in 1915, Naspers is a leading multinational group of eCommerce and media platforms, with operations in more than 133 countries. Listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) since September 1994, it also has an ADR listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The group’s principal operations are in e-commerce, paytelevision & related technologies and print media. It also has minority investments in listed, integrated social-network platforms Tencent (SEHK 0700) and Mail.ru (LSE: MAIL).
The group focuses on attaining sustainable market positions in growing emerging markets which it believes to present above-average growth opportunities. These markets include South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, China, Brazil and the rest of Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East.

image

INTERNET
Naspers operates platforms that offer customers fast, intuitive and secure environments where they can communicate, participate, entertain and shop. The group’s e-commerce services include marketplaces, general and vertical e-tail, classifieds, lead-generation and payments.
Naspers major e-commerce operations are:
  • Allegro (97%), a leading e-commerce business in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • BuscaPé (95%), a major e-commerce platform in Brazil.
  • OLX (84%), a strong classifieds operator in a number of emerging markets.
Other investments include 36Boutiques, Avito, Brandsclub, Dealfish, Dubizzle, eMag, Fashion Days, Flipkart, Fixeads, ibibo Group, kalahari.com, Korbitec, LevelUp!, Markafoni, Movile, Netretail, OLX, PayU, PriceCheck, redBus, Ricardo, Sanook!, Souq, Sulit, Tokobagus, Travel Boutique Online and Trendsales.
Naspers also holds minority positions in:
  • Tencent (34%) – China’s largest and most used internet services platform.
  • Mail.ru Group [DST] (29%) – the leading internet company in Russian-speaking markets.

Naspers rides Tencent to Internet fortune [TechCentral (South Africa), Aug 31, 2012]

When Naspers stumbled on a little-known Chinese Internet company in 2001, it could not have dreamed that a US$32m investment would account for more than 80% of the media conglomerate’s R200bn market cap now.

Tencent Holdings is the largest Internet solutions provider in China and Naspers, which owns a 34% stake, is its largest shareholder. R4,8bn of Naspers CEO Koos Bekker’s personal fortune of R6bn in shares is linked to Tencent.

It [Naspers] has a market capitalisation of about $57bn and its total revenue for the year to 31 December 2011 was up by 45% to $4,4bn. Profit attributable to equity holders was $1,6bn — 27% higher year on year — and its profit for the second quarter of 2012 was up by 32%. The p:e ratio (share price compared with  its earnings) is 33.
Founded in November 1998, Ten­cent has become one of China’s largest and most widely used Internet service portals and, in 2004, it was listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
More than 50% of Tencent employees are research and development staff and the company has obtained patents relating to technology for instant messaging, e-commerce, online payment services, search engines, information security, gaming and more.
Its leading Internet platforms in China include instant messaging, social networking (with 580m active users) and a mobile chat and micro-blogging service known as Weixin. It is also the largest online gaming company in the world.


And the DST money is said to come from:

image
THE THREE KINGS & THEIR PRINCES(S)

“Larry Summers is ethically challenged.”
   Former Economist Colleagues

Larry Summers and his Facebook Friends conspire to undermine U.S. “checks & balances” and take control of the world economy by stealth, we believe.

First see a specially written article to understand very easily the whole affair with the judicial and other systems in U.S. in Facebook — a force for freedom perhaps, but at odds with the rule of law in the U.S. [Americans For Innovation (AFI) via Open Trial, July 26, 2013] from which I will include here only the following excerpts:

In the late 1990s Innovator Leader Technologies invented a technology we now call “social networking.” By the time they filed for their first patents in 2002, they had invested 145,000 man-hours and over $10 million. Literally within three months of Leader perfecting the lynch-pin of their invention, Mark Zuckerberg and his PayPal associates were in the market, on February 4, 2004. Zuckerberg claims to have done all the work himself in “one to two weeks” while chasing girls and studying for finals.

New evidence indicates he received Leader’s source code from a mole who was cooperating with Zuckerberg’s apparent mentor, James W. Breyer, of Accel Partners LLP and with Fenwick & West LLP, who was also Leader’s attorney at the same time. It appears that they were waiting for Leader to finish debugging its invention so that they could roll out the Harvard-boy-genius-Facebook-origins myth, with Zuckerberg in the leading role.

Not so coincidentally, Lawrence Summers was President of Harvard at the time. Summers arranged for the 19-year old Zuckerberg to get more Harvard Crimson news coverage than any world leader or event. Breyer was a big alumni contributor. PayPal COO, Reid Hoffman (later LinkedIn CEO) was coaching Zuckerberg and feeding him spending money, as was Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal. Tellingly, these three sold over $6 billion of their Facebook stock on Day 3 of the Facebook IPO, at the highest price anyone received for their stock before it crashed. Summers popped up in Silicon Valley before the IPO too—as “special advisor” to Instagram that sold their 13-man company to Facebook for $1 billion. Could it be that their CEO, Matt Cohler was able to exert some influence over Zuckerberg, as he knew about the theft of the Leader invention?

Forty-four months after filing for their patents, Leader received their first patent on November 21, 2006—U.S. Patent No. 7,139,761. On November 19, 2008, Leader filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook. Leader Technologies, Inc., v. Facebook, Inc., 08-cv-862-JJF-LPS (D.Del. 2008).

Current Federal Reserve Chairman candidate, Lawrence “Larry” Summers has mentored Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg since the early 1990’s. He also mentored Russian Yuri Milner, who has close ties to Russian oligarch Alisher Asmanov and the Kremlin. Summers was one of the Harvard-wunderkind architects of the disastrous Russian voucher system in the early 1990’s while Chief Economist for the World Bank. Milner is Facebook’s second largest shareholder and is partnered with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. With Goldman’s and Morgan’s help, Milner moved billions of dollars into Facebook pre-IPO. Curiously, Cohler helped Hoffman start LinkedIn in 2004. There appears to have been a feeding frenzy surrounding the debugging of Leader’s invention.

This occurred after the US taxpayers bailed out Goldman and Morgan Stanley in 2008. To this day no one knows the origins of those funds, which pumped Facebook’s valuation up to $100 billion. Milner is also connected with Bank Menatep, which was caught laundering $10 billion in Russian mob funds and diverting $4 billion in IMF funds. Summers’ conduct here has never been scrutinized, even though he was appointed to oversee the bailout soon after Barack Obama was elected President. See Congressional Briefings.

Georgia [Beardslee] interviews the real inventor of social networking, Michael McKibben, CEO of Leader Technologies, Columbus, Ohio: GEORGIA! KSCO AM 1080, Apr. 10, 2013 Michael McKibben interview, CEO of Leader Technologies, Inc. [leadertv100 YouTube channel, April 12, 2013]

Georgia: “One of the most interesting, complicated and disturbing stories of the decade.” On April 10, 2013, news-talk show host Georgia Beardslee interviewed Michael McKibben, CEO of Leader Technologies, Columbus, Ohio on her weekly radio show GEORGIA! KSCO 1080 (Santa Cruz, CA) about Leader’s battle with Facebook over Leader’s U.S. Patent No. 7,139,761. The interview covers (1) background on the LEADER V. FACEBOOK patent infringement lawsuit; (2) the suspicious split verdict; (3) the Harvard back story; (4) the Federal Circuit judge’s stock in Facebook; (5) the refusal of the Federal Circuit court to disclose their Facebook stock holdings; (6) the likely undue influence of the federal courts by financiers, bankers, underwriters, Silicon Valley venture capitalists; (7) the questionable conduct of the U.S. Patent Office; (8) the judges’ ignoring of Zuckerberg’s concealment of 28 hard drives and Harvard emails; (9) the Facebook-doctored trial evidence; (10) the ruling against Leader without a shred of evidence; (11) the involvement of billions of pre-IPO investments in Facebook by Russian companies, (12) Goldman Sachs’ and Obama bailout director Larry Summers’ involvement, and now (13) the interference of the White House at the U.S. Patent Office. This case appears to have exposed an underbelly of corruption at the national and international levels that is much worse and even more organized than we might have otherwise suspected. While the video plays, pages from Leader’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Leader Technologies, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., No. 12-617 (U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 16, 212) will display, page by page (41 pages not counting the appendices). This document can be obtained at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/113545399/P… For background facts, see alsohttp://americans4innovation.blogspot…. This broadcast and these notes may contain opinion. As with all opinion, the information should not be relied upon without independent verification.
Georgia: “One of the most interesting, complicated and disturbing stories of the decade.” On April 10, 2013, news-talk show host Georgia Beardslee interviewed Michael McKibben, CEO of Leader Technologies, Columbus, Ohio on her weekly radio show GEORGIA! KSCO 1080 (Santa Cruz, CA) about Leader’s battle with Facebook over Leader’s U.S. Patent No. 7,139,761.

The interview covers

  1. background on the LEADER V. FACEBOOK patent infringement lawsuit;
  2. [18:30] the suspicious split verdict;
  3. [34:25] the Harvard back story;
  4. the Federal Circuit judge’s stock in Facebook;
  5. the refusal of the Federal Circuit court to disclose their Facebook stock holdings;
  6. the likely undue influence of the federal courts by financiers, bankers, underwriters, Silicon Valley venture capitalists;
  7. the questionable conduct of the U.S. Patent Office;
  8. the judges’ ignoring of Zuckerberg’s concealment of 28 hard drives and Harvard emails;
  9. the Facebook-doctored trial evidence;
  10. the ruling against Leader without a shred of evidence;
  11. the involvement of billions of pre-IPO investments in Facebook by Russian companies,
  12. Goldman Sachs’ and Obama bailout director Larry Summers’ involvement, and now
  13. the interference of the White House at the U.S. Patent Office. This case appears to have exposed an underbelly of corruption at the national and international levels that is much worse and even more organized than we might have otherwise suspected.
While the video plays, pages from Leader’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Leader Technologies, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., No. 12-617 (U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 16, 212) will display, page by page (41 pages not counting the appendices). This document can be obtained at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/113545399/P…
For background facts, see also http://americans4innovation.blogspot….
This broadcast and these notes may contain opinion. As with all opinion, the information should not be relied upon without independent verification.

Obama is protecting his 47 million Facebook “likes” at the expense of the U.S. Constitution [Georgia! KSCO-AM1080, May 31, 2013]

image(My collaboration with a listener, 5/31/2013):Washington D.C. is toxic and fiendishly deceptive these days. Speaker John Boehner described the flow of scandal developments as “Drip, drip, drip.” I take this to mean that the Deception Tank is full and starting to leak. (At last!)
imageInvestigators are now uncovering common people driving these scandals. The Leader v. Facebook property rights debacle seems to have been another one of their pet deception projects. Remember, Facebook was judged guilty on 11 of 11 counts of stealing the inventions of Columbus-based innovator Leader Technologies, Inc., yet the federal courts ruled for Facebook anyway. They had to ignore the Consitution to do it.
Many people lusted after Leader’s innovations that we know as “social networking.” Obama and his handlers needed it to raise election dollars and polish Obama’s persona many times a day. Larry Summers, Accel Partners and the PayPal Mafia wanted it as their global financial transactions platform, Zuckerberg and his fellow thieves wanted it as a global voyeur platform to invade everyone’s privacy, the Kremlin wanted it as a money-laundering vehicle, James W. Breyer wanted it as his ‘pump and dump” stock manipulation scheme, the greedy law firms wanted it to rake in fees. And, at least two Federal Circuit Judges Alan D. Lourie and Kimberly A. Moore were beefing up their financial portfolios with the pump of their undisclosed Facebook shares at the IPO. Wow, that’s a lot of interests all lusting after Michael McKibben’s innovation! (I have interviewed him on this show twice.)
Beware of McBee Strategic lobbyist Jeff Markey bearing gifts
Americans for Innovation has smoked out intimate, undisclosed relationships among Facebook’s chief litigator in Leader v. Facebook, Cooley Godward LLP’s Michael Rhodes, Obama’s Justice Department Cooley “Advisor,” Donald K. Stern, the failed $1.6 billion BrightSource Obama “green” stimulus project, big Facebook IPO winner J.P. Morgan Chase and McBee Strategic’s Steve McBee and Jeff Markey.
This is so convoluted I asked by resident artist to do me a diagram of these relationships. No wonder Washington is so confused. It’s intentional on the part of some morally bankrupt people and organizations (click to enlarge):

image

Figure 1: Conflicts of Interest Map among Barack Obama, Executive Branch, Justice Department,  Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, Michael Rhodes, Donald K. Stern, McBee Strategic, Steve McBee, Jeff Markey, Judge Leonard P. Stark, Judge Alan D. Lourie, Judge Kimberly A. Moore, Leader v. Facebook, BrightSource, Solyndra,Tesla Motors, Solar City, Elon Musk and 47 million “likes” on Facebook.
McBee Strategic and their lobbyist Jeff Markey have lied at least twice on disclosures that we have already identified. On their BrightSource Senate disclosure on 11/20/2009 they answered “No” to affiliated organizations that actively participate in their activities. This was false since on 4/23/2009 they had publicly announced their alliance with Facebook’s attorney Cooley Godward Kronish LLP specifically about helping companies access Obama’s “green energy” money. That’s LIE #1. Then, we discover that Jeff Markey is accustomed to lying whenever it is to his benefit. On 4/30/2004 Markey lied on a financial disclosure that he was an Executive for SAIC in an apparent deception to gain access to the National Congressional Republican Committee. That’s LIE #2.
Markey clearly plays on both sides of the ball in Washington. While he is busy spending Obama’s billions, he donates mostly to Republicans, including MITCH MCCONNELL, ROB PORTMAN, ARLEN SPECTER, LINDSEY GRAHAM. Republicans beware of this wolf in sheep’s clothing. Such cynical parlaying of contacts just to keep one’s job in Washington is why Washington is failing. These people are there for the wrong reasons. They need to get real jobs. Professional bureaucrats and politicians (and the lobbyists who feed on the rotted meat) are the death knell of a democracy.
While we’re on the subject of lying to Congress, then Magistrate Judge Leonard P. Stark told Congress in his 4/22/2010 confirmation hearing that he would follow the decisions of the Supreme Court and the Appeals Courts. However, three months later he ignored that promise and even after instructing the jury to do so, he ignored the Supreme Court’s Pfaff test of on-sale bar evidence, as well as the Federal Circuit’s Group One tests. Obama and his Facebook “friends” just seem to lie all the time.
Don’t believe me? Check out the source material yourself. Here are some of them we downloaded quickly. Please share more as you find your own information.

Detailed information is available in Mark Zuckerberg used Leader white paper to build Facebook [Origin of Facebook technology?, Aug 27, 2011] post, from which I will include just the most relevant excerpt in my opinion:


The court documents reveal how Mark Zuckerberg was able to accelerate from 0-to-60 mph in “one or two weeks” while studying for his Harvard finals to start Facebook on February 4, 2004. The idea for the student facebook was already known at Harvard from three well-documented sources prior to Mr. Zuckerberg: (1) the Winklevoss twins’ ConnectU,[1] (2) Aaron Greenspan’s houseSYSTEM,[2] and (3) from the Harvard computer administration.[3] And, if Leader Technologies (“Leader”) is right, Mr. Zuckerberg lifted the ideas for the structure of the platform from Leader Technologies’ patent pending white papers, one published on October 22, 2003, along with Leader’s first patent publication on June 24, 2004—exactly when Mr. Zuckerberg says “Steven Dawson Haggerty” was hired to build the “groups functionality” which is disclosed in the Leader patent publication.[4][5][6][7]

 


More on Yuri Milner
:

Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga: I Love Yuri Milner [PandoDaily YouTube channel, July 19, 2012]

From the Wikipedia article: The company develops social games that work stand-alone on mobile phone platforms such as Apple iOS and Android and on the Internet through its website, Zynga.com, and social networking websites such as Facebook, Google+, and Tencent.[5] Zynga states its mission as “connecting the world through games.”[6]

Russian Billionaire buys $100 Million U S Mansion Yuri Milner [estarcobusiness10 YouTube channel, (originally made the news on March 31, 2011) April 2, 2012]

Home Brings $100 Million [WSJ.com, March 31, 2013]

A Russian billionaire investor paid $100 million for a French chateau-style mansion in Silicon Valley, marking the highest known price paid for a single-family home in the U.S.
The purchase of the 25,500-square-foot home in Los Altos Hills, Calif., underscores the strength of some luxury properties in an otherwise depressed housing market.
The buyer, Yuri Milner, 49, who heads Digital Sky Technologies and whose investments include Facebook Inc., Groupon Inc. and Zynga Inc., had no immediate plans to move into the home, said a spokesman.
Mr. Milner is the stocky founder of DST, a Moscow-based fund that’s made a splash in Silicon Valley via its investments. Its first in the U.S. was a $200 million check for Facebook in 2009. His primary residence is in Moscow, where he lives with his wife and two children.
The sky seemed to be the limit for Mr. Milner’s new house, a symmetrical limestone mansion with San Francisco Bay views that was inspired by 18th-century French chateaux.

The home has indoor and outdoor pools, a ballroom and a wine cellar. The grounds include a tennis court and inside are chandeliers and a frieze around a skylight in the entryway, among other details.

Mr. Milner bought the home through a limited-liability company; the home wasn’t on the market, according to people familiar with the deal.
Mr. Milner, who studied theoretical physics in Moscow and attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, began his career in Moscow in the 1990s. By 1999, he had focused on the Internet after dabbling in everything from private equity to a macaroni-and-cheese factory. …


Larry Summers
:

The Asian Financial Forum (AFF) 2013 welcomed Professor Lawrence H Summers, one of America’s most influential economists, who served as Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton and Director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama. In this AFF luncheon on day one of the 14-15 January event – Prof Summers discussed potential short-term and long-term solutions for the global economy, and the unique opportunities presented by low interest rates.
Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols reports on President Barack Obama’s search for the next leader of the Federal Reserve, his personal relationships with Lawrence Summers and Janet Yellen and the prospects of a confirmation battle for whoever is the candidate. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”
There is some serious talk in Washington about appointing Larry Summers as the new chairman of the Federal Reserve. Obama has been out on the stump praising Summers, but when you look at his record, there isn’t anything worthy of praise on this guy’s resume’. Ring of Fire host Mike Papantonio talks about the disaster that is Larry Summers with economist Dean Baker.


Alisher Usmanov
(+Irina Viner):

This year’s Sunday Times Rich List has been revealed — with Arsenal FC 30 per cent shareholder Alisher Usmanov, who hails from Uzbekistan leading the way with a fortune of GBP 13.3 billion. Usmanov is married to a Jewish lady – Irina Viner, who is the Russian national team gymnastics coach.

BBC News – Sunday Times Rich List: Alisher Usmanov [BBCWorldNewsWatch YouTube channel, April 21, 2013]

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has topped the Sunday Times ranking of the wealthiest people in Britain and Ireland with a fortune of £13.3bn. The wealthiest British-born person in the list is the Duke of Westminster in eighth place with £7.8bn from property.

Moshiri Becomes Billionaire Helping Usmanov [jagan washpost YouTube channel, July 9, 2012]

Bloomberg’s Matthew G. Miller reports on Farhad Moshiri, an Iranian-born accountant who is now a billionaire after a two-decade alliance with Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s current richest man. Miller speaks on Bloomberg Television’s "InBusiness With Margaret Brennan."

Russia’s Usmanov – Fed Tapering ‘Vital & well-balanced’ (CNBC) [gmshadowtraders YouTube channel, July 11, 2013]

Full video here http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000177176 Alisher Usmanov, founder of USM Holdings, says that the decisions taken by the Fed regarding money and derivatives are “vital” to the global economy and the decision on tapering is “well-balanced”.

Full video: Russia’s Richest Man Supports Fed [CNBC, June 20, 2013]

Форум в Давосе. Интервью А.Усманова [Моше Кац YouTube channel, Jan 23, 2013]

Алишер Усманов одобряет планы, поставленные российскими властями, которые заключаются прежде всего в диверсификации экономики, уменьшении зависимости от сырьевого сектора и развитии новых технологий. Все это позволит построить новую экономическую действительность. Потому бизнесмен уверен: вероятность, что Россия избежит любого из обозначенных на форуме негативных путей, достаточно высока. Интервью главы холдинга “Металлоинвест” Алишера Усманова телеканалу “Россия 24”.

Алишер Усманов: на Россию надвигается этап сложностей [Моше Кац YouTube channel, June 23, 2013]

Инициативы президента Владимира Путина глазами одного из крупнейших бизнесменов России. Предложения и темы ПМЭФ-2013 в интервью телеканалу “Россия 24” комментирует учредитель USM Holdings Алишер Усманов. Он предположил, что мир может находиться в середине кризиса, начавшегося в 2008-ом году. В таком случае выводы, сделанные на форуме, дадут реальный шанс преодолеть предстоящие трудности. Также Алишер Усманов дал ответ на вопрос, который активно обсуждался участниками форума: замедление экономического роста – это миф или реальность?

Без галстука с Ириной Винер [Russia24TV YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2012]

Те, кто хорошо знает Ирину Винер, говорят: “женщина странная”. Добилась всего на самом высоком уровне, уважаемая, заслуженная, доктор, профессор – и все же никак не успокоится: что-то планирует, строит, генерирует новые идеи. Тренер сборных России и Узбекистана по художественной гимнастике стала героем нового выпуска программы “Без галстука”.

Russian Billionaire Usmanov Bets $100M on Apple’s Rebound [Bloomberg YouTube channel, April 30, 2013]

In today’s “Movers & Shakers,” Bloomberg’s Betty Liu reports that Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has bet big on Apple, investing $100 million on a rebound of the company’s stock. She speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop.” … He is the world 35th richest person with just under 20 billion dollars.
Алишер Усманов прокомментировал ситуацию в “Норильском никеле”. В эксклюзивном интервью телеканалу “Россия 24” известный российский бизнесмен сказал, что не хочет участвовать в олигархических сговорах. Кроме того, он предостерег инвесторов от ошибочных выводов: по мнению совладельца крупных предприятий, разочаровываться в Facebook рано. Алишер Усманов рассказал также о том, что планирует увеличить свою долю в социальной сети “ВКонтакте”.

USM Holdings is a leading global investor in companies in the digital space. Its deep understanding of the internet sector has played a key role in the success of its businesses and the development and diversification of
internet services.

USM Holdings is a major shareholder in Mail.ru Group, with a 17.9% economic stake and 58.1% voting power, and the largest investor in the Digital Sky Technologies (DST ) family of funds, an investment company specialising in late stage, high growth private businesses in the global internet sector. USM Holdings recognises the future growth prospects of e-commerce, social networks, online video, online gaming, mobile internet and online advertising.

MAIL.RU GROUP
Founded in 1998, Mail.Ru Group is the number one internet company in the high growth Russian-speaking internet market reaching c. 85% of Russian users on a monthly basis. It is the world’s fourth largest internet company based on total page views, with a global monthly audience of 97.4 million users.
In line with its ‘communitainment’ strategy, the company is moving rapidly to build an integrated communications and entertainment platform. Mail.Ru Group comprises the most popular Russian free email service Mail.Ru and two popular Russian-language internet instant messengers. The company operates two leading Russian social networks, My World and Odnoklassniki.ru, and owns a 40% stake in VKontakte, Russia’s number one social networking site. Mail.Ru Group is also a leading player in the online games market.
In 2010, Mail.Ru Group successfully completed an IPO on the London Stock Exchange worth c. US$92 million.
Mail.Ru Group’s aggregate segment revenue in 2012 was RUR 21,151 million, representing a 39% year-on-year increase.
PORTFOLIO INVESTMENTS WITH DST
DST was the group’s first internet investment. In 2008, DST became a backer of Facebook based on a firm belief in the strong growth potential of the internet, and particularly social networking. The current market valuation of Facebook exceeds the initial value at the time of DST ’s entry by approximately seven times.
In 2009, DST spun off DST Russia, later renamed Mail.Ru Group (see above), which is a separate business at present.
Through DST and Mail.Ru Group investments, USM Holdings gained international prominence with stakes in some of the world’s leading and most valuable internet assets, including Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Zynga, Spotify, Zocdoc, Airbnb, Alibaba and 360buy.

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USM Holdings is a major investor in some of Russia’s leading telecoms businesses. It is ideally positioned to leverage its assets
and experience in the rapidly growing market
for 4G and other mobile services.

USM Holdings owns 82% of Garsdale, a telecoms holding, which in turn controls 50% plus 100 shares of MegaFon, Russia’s second largest mobile operator; 100% of Yota, a pioneering international 4G services provider; and 51% of Peter-Service, a billing services company. Through Garsdale and MegaFon, USM Holdings owns 50% of Euroset, Russia’s number one mobile retailer.
MEGAFON
Formed in 1993, MegaFon is Russia’s second largest mobile operator in terms of revenue and subscribers and the market leader in the mobile data segment.
With over 33,000 employees, MegaFon is a leading universal telecommunications provider with c. 62.7 million wireless subscribers in the Russian Federation as of 31 March 2013. The company offers a full range of voice, data and other mobile and fixed-line telecommunications services, including digital TV and IP telephony, to retail customers, businesses, government clients and telecommunications services providers. MegaFon operates one of the most extensive 3G networks in Russia and renders a wide range of mobile services in Tajikistan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The company has a strong track record in innovation and pioneered the introduction of a number of services in Russia, including the launch of MMS and mobile TV in 2004, free incoming calls in 2006, 3G services in 2008, significant reduction in roaming charges in 2011, and 4G/ Long Term Evolution (LTE ) services in 2012.
Through MegaLabs, a fully owned subsidiary, the company develops a variety of new projects in the promising value-added service (VAS) market in a number of areas, including content and media, mobile finance, mobile advertising, cloud and IT solutions, M2M, e-government and m-health.
MegaFon owns a large distribution network. As of the end of 2012, it included 1,785 owned and operated stores and 1,757 third-party points of sale operating solely under the MegaFon brand. In addition, its acquisition in late 2012 of a 25% stake in Euroset, the largest wireless mobile equipment retailer in Russia, is expected to enhance the company’s initiatives focused on improving the quality of MegaFon’s subscriber base and broadening the marketing of its products.
In November 2012, the company listed c. US$1.7 billion worth of shares in an IPO. The company’s shares are traded on MICEX-RTS , and its GDR s on the London Stock Exchange.
In 2012, MegaFon’s revenue grew 12.4% year-on-year to RUR 272.6 billion. The company demonstrated a strong performance in Q1 2013, achieving consolidated revenue growth of 7.6% y-o-y to RUR 67.7 billion.
YOTA
Yota was founded in 2007. It is the leader of the mobile broadband sector in Russia. It was the first company to offer its subscribers access to services based on WiMAX and LTE technologies, and is one of the leading companies in this segment globally.
In 2013, Yota was divided into two companies: Scartel, which is involved in construction and management of 4G infrastructure, and Yota (Yota LLC), a mobile operator.
Scartel operates LTE networks and provides access to its networks for telecom operators using a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model. It was the first company worldwide to launch LTE-Advanced technology for a commercial network, enabling data transfer rates of up to 300 Mbps. The company’s LTE networks are currently available in 31 regions and more than 100 cities in Russia. Its total investments in LTE infrastructure in Russia to date exceed US$400 million and are set to reach US$1 billion by the end of 2014.
Yota provides communication services to its subscribers through Scartel’s platform. Yota owns an extensive retail and dealer network throughout Russia, offering its users a truly unlimited LTE experience, coupled with the provision of hardware and the highest level of customer service. At present, Yota services are available in more than 20 major cities in Russia.
Yota and Scartel are 100% owned by the telecoms holding Garsdale, which is part of USM Holdings.
EUROSET
Founded in 1997, Euroset is the largest mobile retail chain in Russia, with more than 5,000 outlets. Its stores offer a wide range of goods, such as handsets, accessories, tablets and netbooks; and services, such as mobile top-ups, repairs and financing.
Euroset is one of the best known brands in the Russian market for consumer goods and services. The retailer’s share of Russia’s mobile phone market is approximately 30%. The company operates in more than 1,500 towns and cities in Russia and Belarus, and attracts more than 40 million customers to its stores each month.
The company today is one of the largest Russian employers, providing jobs to over 30,000 people.
PETER-SERVICE
Peter-Service is the first Russian developer of billing systems for telecoms operators. It provides billing solutions along with product installation, integration and support services. The company has regional offices across Russia and in Ukraine. Since its establishment in 1992, Peter-Service has completed over 100 projects for more than 50 operators of fixed and mobile networks in 10 countries.

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USM Holdings owns 50% of UTH Russia, one of the country’s fastest growing commercial television broadcasters. The company aims
to capitalise on the expansion of the youth entertainment
market and the ever increasing interest
in youth lifestyle and wellbeing.

UTH RUSSIA
Through UTH Russia, USM Holdings owns some of the country’s most popular outlets in broadcast and digital media. Building the main framework on its two free-to-air channels – the Disney Channel and U channel – and the cable MUZ-TV channel, UTH Russia is on its way to becoming the leader in youth entertainment and lifestyle programming. U channel and the Disney Channel broadcast in more than 880 cities, and the company continues to expand its market share.
The UTH platform also houses the specialist online video service ClipYou, which offers licensed content from leading Russian and international music companies, including some of the top labels, such as Universal Music, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI.

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USM Holdings invests in a number of Russia’s steel and mining companies. It owns 100% of METALLOINVEST, a leading global iron ore
and hot briquetted iron (HBI) producer
and one of the regional steel producers.

METALLOINVEST
METALLOINVEST extracts and exploits iron ore from the second largest measured reserve base in the world (c. 14.9 billion tonnes).
In 2011, the company was the largest commercial iron ore producer in Russia/CIS and the fifth largest globally, the leading producer of pellets in Russia/CIS and the third largest globally, and the leading producer of merchant HBI globally.
The main production assets of the company are strategically located in the European part of Russia and the Urals.
The company is organised into three integrated operating segments focusing on mining operations, steel production and auxiliary businesses and other assets. The mining segment includes Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK, and the steel segment includes OE MK, Ural Steel and Ural Scrap Company. In addition to its mining and steel businesses, the company owns several supporting businesses and other assets that provide services and raw materials to the mining and steel segments.
Lebedinsky GOK is a leading manufacturer of iron ore products in Russia and operates as an integrated mining company whose assets comprise iron ore extraction facilities and secondary processing facilities, including beneficiation and secondary beneficiation plants, a pellet plant and two HBI plants.
Mikhailovsky GOK is the second largest iron ore extraction and processing operation in Russia, after Lebedinsky GOK. In 2014, Mikhailovsky GOK intends to finish construction of what is expected to be the largest pelletising plant in Russia, with a capacity of five million tonnes a year.
OEMK is one of the most modern steel mills in Russia, employing Midrex DRI technology. The unique application and properties of the steel and finished products from OE MK have ensured stable demand in Russia, the CIS and worldwide. It is located close to Lebedinsky GOK, which supplies OEMK with high grade iron ore concentrate through a 26-kilometre slurry pipeline. OEMK sells products for engineering, automotive, pipe, hardware and bearing industries in the domestic market, and exports its high quality pipe and cast billets and long rolled products such as wire coil and bar to foreign customers.
Ural Steel is a major manufacturer of strips for large diameter pipes, pipe billets, bridge construction steel and heavy plates. Ural Scrap Company purchases, processes and delivers ferrous scrap to METALLOINVEST’s steel producing assets.
Baikal Mining Company, a subsidiary of METALLOINVEST, holds the licence for the development of the Udokan copper deposit, which has a mineral resources base of c. 2.7 billion tonnes. Udokan is one of the world’s largest undeveloped deposits of copper amounting to c. 25.7 million tonnes of metal. The licence covers 60% of copper deposits in Russia.
With a 21% holding, METALLOINVEST is a major shareholder of the Canadian company Nautilus Minerals. Nautilus Minerals commercially explores the seafloor for massive sulphide systems, which are a potential source of high grade copper, gold, zinc and silver. The company is developing the world’s first seafloor copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea.
METALLOINVEST has a shareholding of approximately 5% in Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel (18% of the market) and palladium (41%), as well as a leading producer of platinum (11%) and copper (2%). Norilsk Nickel also produces multiple by-products, such as cobalt, rhodium, silver, gold, iridium, ruthenium, selenium, tellurium and sulphur.
In 2012, METALLOINVEST’s net income grew by 20.4% year-on-year to US$ 1.7 billion.

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USM Holdings – Alisher Usmanov Founder of USM Holdings [June 12, 2013]

Mr. Usmanov is an investor, industrialist and philanthropist.
He created and built up USM Holdings by identifying
and focusing on growth businesses.

Mr. Usmanov was born in 1953 in the town of Chust in the Namangan region of Uzbekistan, which was then part of the USSR . He graduated in 1976 from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, a leading Russian university, with a degree in international law. In 1997, he received a degree in banking from the Finance Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation. He is fluent in English, French, Russian and Uzbek.
Mr. Usmanov has played a number of key roles in businesses essential for the advancement of the Russian economy. Since February 2006, he has been a member of the Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and currently heads its Committee for Updating of Control and Supervision and Elimination of Administrative Barriers. Mr. Usmanov has served as General Director of Gazprom Investholding since 2000, prior to which he was as an Advisor to the Chairman of Gazprom and was First Deputy General Director of Gazprom Investholding. From 1994 to 1998, Mr. Usmanov held the position of General Director of Interfin Investment and Finance Company. From 1995 to 1997, he served as the First Deputy Chairman of MAPO-Bank, and from 1994 to 1995, he was an Advisor to the General Director of Moscow Aviation Industrial Enterprise. From 1990 to 1994, Mr. Usmanov worked as the Deputy General Director of Intercross JSC.
Mr. Usmanov is the President of the International Fencing Federation and a member of the councils of the 2014 Sochi XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games, the 2013 Kazan XXVII Summer Universiade and the Russian Olympian Sportsmen Support Fund. He is a Trustee for a range of social, educational and cultural organisations, including the Russian Geographical Society, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, National Research University Higher School of Economics, and European University at St. Petersburg.
Mr. Usmanov is the founder of the Arts, Science and Sports Charity Foundation.
In 2013, Mr. Usmanov was awarded the Order for Service to the Fatherland IV class in recognition of his services to the state, as well as his community and charitable activities. In 2004, he was presented with the Order of Honour of the Russian Federation for his contribution to business and charity.
In 2011, he received the Order of Friendship of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Alongside his investments within USM Holdings, Mr. Usmanov owns Kommersant Holding, the leading Russian business media group, as well as almost 30% of Arsenal, an English football club.

USM Holdings – About us [June 21, 2013]

USM Holdings Limited (“USM Holdings”) is a diversified, international company with significant interests across the metals and mining,
telecoms, internet and media sectors. It was established in 2012
to consolidate the various investments and holdings of
Alisher Usmanov, which are the result of more than
30 years of his investment and business
development activities.

In consolidating Mr. Usmanov’s interests into one company, USM Holdings has the right structure to enable the sharing of both intellectual and financial capital amongst its various businesses. The group’s companies benefit from a global network of relationships and a wealth of experience, which enable them to access international investment opportunities. Through its structure, reporting and transparency, USM Holdings aims to ensure that its companies adhere to the highest international standards of corporate governance.
In carrying out its operations, USM Holdings acts in a socially responsible way, investing in long-term sustainable enterprises, stimulating economic development and creating employment opportunities in Russia. The group cares about the communities in which it conducts its business, and supports them through a wide range of social projects in the fields of education, sports, arts, science and ecology.

The main shareholders of USM Holdings are Alisher Usmanov, Vladimir Skoch and Farhad Moshiri. Their economic interests are divided 60%, 30% and 10% respectively, while Mr. Usmanov holds 100% of the voting rights with respect to USM Holdings.

Russian Billionaire Usmanov Links Fortune to Partnership [Bloomberg, Feb 6, 2013]

Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s richest man, and two of his long-time billionaire investment partners have joined all of their assets in USM Holdings, a limited liability company based in the British Virgin Islands.
Conceived in early 2012 and completed in December, the new formation holds the trio’s assets in mining, technology, telecommunications and media, and carries a value of more than $29 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“We have completed the process of consolidating assets into USM Holdings,” Usmanov, 59, said by e-mail Feb. 5. “The formation of a single holding company enables us to optimize business processes, enhance the efficiency of managing subsidiary companies, and provide more opportunities to access international capital markets.”
According to the company’s website, which went live late last month, USM was established to consolidate the holdings Usmanov has built up during the last 30 years, including closely held Metalloinvest Holding Co., Russia’s largest iron ore producer, publicly-traded mobile phone company MegaFon OAO and Internet company Mail.Ru Group Ltd., as well as the technology investments he has made through the DST investment funds.
USM shareholders include Usmanov, who holds 60 percent; Vladimir Skoch, who holds 30 percent on behalf of his son, Russian Duma deputy Andrey Skoch; and Ardavan Farhad Moshiri, an Usmanov adviser of 23 years, who owns 10 percent.
Usmanov and Moshiri continue to hold their shared 29.9 percent stake in London-based Arsenal Football Club Plc separately. Usmanov owns all of newspaper Kommersant outside of USM.
‘One Roof’
Usmanov controls all of USM’s voting rights and also has the ability to block his partners from selling any assets it holds without his consent. He first disclosed his plans for the holding company in April 2012, and released further details of its formation in MegaFon’s preliminary prospectus, which was released in November.
Ivan Streshinskiy, who has helped manage Usmanov’s investments since 2006, was appointed to the USM Holdings board and named chief executive officer of USM Advisors, an affiliated company that will provide advisory services to the holding entity.
“Having all of the assets under one roof makes it easier to manage them and value them,” Kirill Chuyko, head of equity research at BCS Financial Group said by phone Jan. 21, explaining the possible reasons for structure.
Longtime Allies
The two minority partners acquired their stakes in USM by swapping their existing equity in holding companies controlled by Usmanov and making a cash investment. After the transaction, Usmanov has a net worth of $21.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, while Moshiri controls a $1.7 billion fortune. Skoch is valued at $6.2 billion.
Rollo Head, a spokesman for Moshiri at London-based RLM Finsbury, said Moshiri declined to comment on his net worth. Albert Istomin, a spokesman for Skoch, declined to comment on the net worth calculation. Usmanov also declined to comment.
Usmanov first met Andrey Skoch in 1992, when he was importing cigarettes to Russia and Skoch was working as an oil trader. At the time, the country was suffering from a deficit of consumer goods, which enabled Usmanov to build a thriving trade business.
He and Skoch purchased metal and mining assets during and after the country’s chaotic privatization years, including a steel plant in the Belgorod region, central Russia, and iron ore producer Lebedinsky GOK. In 2006, after buying Mikhailovsky GOK from Georgia’s current prime minister, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, they created Metalloinvest, now Usmanov’s most valuable asset.
Government Ally
Usmanov’s rise to prominence was boosted in the early 2000s, when he proved to be an ally to the new government led by Russian President Vladimir Putin. As head of Gazprominvestholding, the investment arm of Russia’s gas monopoly OAO Gazprom, Usmanov helped negotiate the return of assets to state-run Gazprom that had been moved out of the company under previous management.
In 1999, Skoch was elected as a deputy of the State Duma, Russia’s main legislative body, representing the Belgorod region. He later transferred the fortune he had built to his father, Vladimir, shielding himself from public criticism. He was re-elected to the Duma four times.
Iranian Emigrant
Moshiri, an Iranian emigrate to London who now resides in Monaco, first met Usmanov in 1989, and has served as Usmanov’s financial consultant ever since. Through the years, he earned shares in some of Usmanov’s most important assets, including Metalloinvest, MegaFon and Arsenal.
The former accountant, who is a British citizen, resisted Usmanov’s diversification into technology investments, which began in 2008, using billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST funds.
“Moshiri also didn’t believe in the prospects for investments in Facebook and Groupon,” said Usmanov in an April 2012 phone interview with Bloomberg News.
His hesitation did not prevent Usmanov from allowing him the chance to participate, which has given Moshiri holdings through DST in publicly-traded Facebook Inc., Zynga Inc. and Groupon Inc., as well as other investments in a number of closely-held technology companies, including Twitter Inc.
USM did not disclose how much Moshiri and Skoch may have paid to make those investments, or their exact stakes.
New Valuation
The new holding company requires a revised method for the Bloomberg ranking to calculate the net worth for Usmanov and Moshiri, and established a valuation for Skoch’s fortune.
Prior to the transaction, Usmanov and Moshiri controlled half of Metalloinvest through Cyprus-based Gallagher Holdings Ltd., which has since been renamed USM Steel & Mining Group Ltd. That stake was combined with the 30 percent held by Skoch. The remaining 20 percent of Metalloinvest was bought back by the company from Moscow-based OAO VTB Bank at the end of 2012 through debt financing, consolidating all of the company under the control of USM.
Further details on the debt financing will be provided when Metalloinvest releases its earnings in April, the company said.

Alisher Usmanov: Uzbek eyes a prize listing [Financial Times, Nov 16, 2012]

The billionaire businessman reflects the new style of oligarch that puts a premium on loyalty and predictability

When Alisher Usmanov met Lloyd Blankfein on the sidelines of the St Petersburg Economic Forum in June, the two men appeared to strike up a rapport. The Uzbek-born billionaire and the chairman of Goldman Sachs discussed the planned initial public offering of Megafon, the mobile phone company owned by Mr Usmanov, say people familiar with the conversation. Mr Blankfein courted Mr Usmanov, one of Russia’s most powerful and best-connected businessmen, for an insight into upcoming deals.
Within months, everything had changed. By early October, Goldman had dropped Mr Usmanov and the Megafon deal, throwing a spanner in the company’s IPO plans and launching a storm of bad publicity around Mr Usmanov personally.
Goldman declined to comment on its reasons for quitting the IPO. Morgan Stanley, Sberbank, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and VTB are still working on the deal, which began formal marketing on Thursday after receiving delayed approval from the UK regulator, which appeared to have been shaken by Goldman’s exit.
Should the deal, which could raise as much as $2.1bn, go through, it would be the biggest flotation by a Russian company in nearly three years. If it flops, it will be another setback for Mr Usmanov, a symbol of a class of powerful Russian businessmen who work closely with the state, and his plans to take his empire public.
Businessmen close to the 59-year-old oligarch say he was dumbstruck by Goldman’s move. In his world, loyalty and predictability are prized above all else, and it is partly because of his strict adherence to such a code that he has risen so far in the Russia of President Vladimir Putin.
Today’s oligarchs are not the brash, buccaneering variety of the 1990s, who wielded both wealth and influence in Boris Yeltsin’s Kremlin. Putin-era billionaires such as Mr Usmanov are expected to respect state power in order to thrive.
It was in this context that Mr Usmanov – worth $18bn, according to Forbes – bought the art estate of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and then donated it to the state. It was also for that reason, analysts say, that he agreed to take a stake in Megafon, interceding in a years-long shareholder feud that was damaging Russia’s investment climate.
Usmanov is known as a person able to resolve delicate situations to the satisfaction of all the parties,” says Ivan Streshinsky, a long-time associate.
That is not all he is known for. The 45 pages of Megafon’s IPO investor prospectus entitled “Risk factors” includes “media speculation” about Mr Usmanov’s alleged mafia ties and the six years he spent in an Uzbek jail in the 1980s, along with more media speculation that the real owner of a large share in Megafon might be Leonid Reiman, a former communications minister.
This week it also emerged that a public relations firm had tampered with Mr Usmanov’s Wikipedia page to remove mention of an incident in which the billionaire had allegedly threatened bloggers who repeated allegations that he was a “gangster and racketeer”, and also edited out mentions of his jail term.
Mr Usmanov and his partners deny issuing such threats, deny having any ties to organised crime groups, and he and Megafon’s management deny Mr Reiman is a shareholder. Andrei Skoch, a long-time friend and business partner, blames Mr Usmanov’s fraud conviction in 1980 on enemies of his father, a local Uzbek prosecutor. The criminal charges were overturned in 2000.
The criminal conviction did dash Mr Usmanov’s dreams of a career as a diplomat moving between the world’s capitals, an ambition forged in a remote corner of central Asia in his native Uzbekistan, where he was born in 1953 in the small city of Chust, a place renowned as home of the traditional Uzbek skullcap.
Once out of jail Mr Usmanov built up a number of small businesses before consolidating some of Russia’s biggest metal and steel holdings into holding company Metalloinvest in 2006. Since then he has expanded outside Russia: acquiring stakes in internet groups such as Facebook and Groupon, and buying properties and trophy sporting assets in London as well as some of Russia’s most prestigious media properties.
Some international ventures have been less than happy. At Arsenal, the English Premier League football club in which he holds a near 30 per cent stake, he has waged a running battle with the board, criticising strategy and complaining that the best players have been let go.
Football is one of his passions, along with opera, ballet and fencing.
His approach to business involves close attention to detail. Despite poor eyesight, he is said to read up to 300 pages of analytics, reports and news items a day that are tirelessly rewritten into Russian by a retained group of round-the-clock translators.
Close links to the Kremlin have not harmed his prospects, say analysts. In 2009, at the height of the financial crisis, Metalloinvest received Rb61bn in bailout loans from state bank VTB, allowing Mr Usmanov not only to emerge from the crisis unscathed but also in the same year to spend $200m on a 2 per cent stake in Facebook through Digital Sky Technologies, a company in which he is a shareholder.
Associates say any political connections are normal. “With the scale and size of his business it would be misleading to say he has no relationship with the authorities – just like any major business leader in the world,” says Mr Streshinsky.
But Mr Usmanov’s political allegiances came under scrutiny last year when he fired two executives at his news weekly Kommersant Vlast because of a cover, published at the peak of mass anti-government protests in Moscow, that featured an obscene comment about Mr Putin.
Critics saw this as trampling on editorial freedom. Friends say he acted for reasons of taste. “He’s an old-fashioned guy. This overstepped the bounds of decency,” says Mr Streshinsky. “This has nothing to do with freedom of speech”.


The ‘Facebook Corruption’ accusations via a U.S. Congress Representative:

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in addition a page from Who is Lawrence “Larry” Summers? [FB Cover-up opinion blog, Jul. 31, 2013]

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China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web

My preceding posts on this site are already leading to such a massive conclusion. Read:

IMT-Advanced (4G) for the next-generations of interactive mobile services, China is triumphant [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 24, 2010]
Good TD-LTE potential for target commercialisation by China Mobile in 2012 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 13, 2011 – Feb 8, 2012]
TD-SCDMA: US$3B into the network (by the end of 2012) and 6 million phones procured (just in October) [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 18, 2011]
China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 1, 2011]
MWC 2012: the 4G/LTE lightRadio network [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 16, 2012]
China: 20,000 TD-LTE base stations in 13 cities by the end of 2012 and about 200,000 base stations in 100 cities launched in 2013 with the 2.6GHz TDD spectrum planning just started—SoftBank with TD-LTE strategy in Japan getting into global play with Sprint (also the 49% owner of US TD-LTE champion, Clearwire) acquisition [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 16, 2012]

The latest information collected to support my headline here is providing further evidence:

  1. The new frontier: application service (e.g. WeChat) global expansion with lead market advantage and tremendous growth opportunity lying ahead
  2. Online shopping growing very fast
  3. Applications, applications to be added to the search
  4. Xiaomi to take Apple place
  5. Strong central government support
  6. Country-wide 4G roll-out by year end 2013 after extensive trials
  7. From operator branded to white-box superphones supporting all that

Lead #1: Choosing Sides: Who’s Partnered with Who in China’s Internet War? [Tech In Asia, Aug 5, 2013]

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The battle between China’s internet giants is only becoming more contentious, and the nation’s major companies seem to be making acquisitions and partnerships at a breakneck pace this year (not to mention rolling out products designed to invade rivals’ markets).

In the interest of clarity, I thought it would be fun to do a roundup of who’s on whose team so far, based on China’s three most internet profitable companies. Obviously none of this is cast in stone, but it’s still quite an interesting way to understand the internet sector. (Note: these lists only include acquisitions and partnerships from 2013).

Team Alibaba:

  • Sina Weibo – a huge new partnership that’s likely to yield more social products from Alibaba.
  • Qihoo 360 – Arguably an independent player, but Qihoo has worked with Alibaba on a product search engine. Qihoo is itself rumored to be buying Sogou.
  • Autonavi – Alibaba invested a boatload in the online mapping company, though it’s not yet clear what role this will play in Alibaba’s long-term strategy.
  • Xiami (acquisition) – Another likely part of Alibaba’s social plan.

Shots fired: Alibaba has been especially harsh to Tencent this year, banning third-party communication tools (mostly WeChat and QQ) in its offices andshutting down the Taobao-WeChat interface. But it has also taken a swipe at Baidu via the launch of its own search engine.

Team Tencent:

  • Xiaomi – A very new partnership, but one that could see Tencent strengthen its strangehold in mobile.
  • China Unicom – WeChat’s popularity has got all of China’s telecoms trying to cozy up to Tencent to get in on the money train.

Shots fired: New security features in WeChat 5 will challenge Qihoo, and Tencent is also rumored to be interested in buying Sogou which would put it at odds with Baidu. Additionally, Tencent dealt old rivals Qihoo a loss in the courts this year.

Team Baidu:

  • 91 Wireless (acquisition) – A huge buy that shows Baidu is serious about mobile.
  • PPS (acquisition) – Another major buy that turned Baidu into one of the major players in internet video.
  • Qunar – Baidu has invested big in the online travel company.
  • Kingsoft – Baidu has also invested in Qihoo rival Kingsoft.

Shots fired: Baidu really hates Qihoo, and has launched an antivirus suite and Baidu Guard, both of which are designed to break into Qihoo’s PC security market. Entering Alibaba’s domain, it has also released a product search engine. Plus, just like Tencent, Baidu has spanked Qihoo in court this year.

First watch this video about Baidu [firecracker888 YouTube channel, Dec 4, 2012]
Baidu is one of the WPP, BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2013. Each brand has its own individual story and to tell them we have put together 50 short films – one on each of the brands in the rankings.
as well as about Baidu’s recent expansion by acquiring 91 Wireless, the biggest 3d party appstore in China: Baidu Gains Mobile Share in $1.9B 91 Wireless Deal [BloombergMarket YouTube channel, July 16, 2013], note Baidu’s earlier platform attempts—Baidu Site App Platform [Sept 3, 2012] and Baidu Yi [Sept 2, 2011]—now joined by 91 open mobile platform [Oct 11, 2012] as well.

Jin Yoon discusses Baidu on CNBC World [BeyondPixInterviews YouTube channel, July 30, 2013]

Jin Yoon, Nomura Live at Beyond Pix Studios in San Francisco, CA. July 16, 2013. http://www.beyondpix.com
Then go deeper first with:
Alibaba is one of China’s largest–and most successful–online retailers, and its IPO could command upwards of $70 billion dollars. With a offering coming as early as September, Alibaba appears to be taking steps to limit the counterfeit merchandise on its platform. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Unlike Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Alibaba doesn’t sell products itself but operates websites that help sellers find buyers. While Alibaba doesn’t have much control over who sells what on Taobao–a mammoth site with more than 800 million product listings—it has been continuously upgrading the system to delete listings for counterfeit goods. In Alibaba’s efforts to maintain credibility, Tmall, another shopping site that became independent from Taobao in 2011, plays a key role. While anyone with a national identification document can become a seller on Taobao, Alibaba’s criteria for Tmall, which hosts storefronts for major brands such as Nike Inc. (NKE) and Gap Inc. (GPS), are more stringent as it tries to make the site a piracy-free zone…
…Alibaba said it blocks some items from being posted on Taobao using filtering mechanisms based on certain keywords used by sellers to describe counterfeit goods. Brands like[guitar-string manufacturer] D’Addarioconstantly monitor Taobao and report any counterfeit items to Alibaba.
which provides a good introduction to Jack Ma: E-commerce in China and Around the World [Credit Suisse YouTube channel, March 20, 2013]
With 242 million people in China expected to shop online in 2013, spending an estimated US$265 billion, China’s e-commerce industry is a force no-one can afford to ignore. Jack Ma, the head of Alibaba Group, China’s largest e-commerce company, discusses how the sector has been generating grassroots economic opportunities and changing lives in China and beyond, and what the future of e-commerce will be like.
And now it’s time to learn via an authentic video of how that business started in 1999 (with the experience of the first Internet company “China Pages” started in 1995 and then 14 months of work for the goverment behind) Jack Ma Speech From “Crocodile In The Yangtze” [PandoDaily YouTube channel, Jan 16, 2013]
Alibaba founder Jack Ma gives an inspirational speech to his recruits in the company’s first office: his apartment. This clip is from Porter Erisman’s documentary film about Alibaba: “Crocodile In The Yangtze.” See http://www.crocodileintheyangtze.com/

Then continue with Alibaba Founder Jack Ma: Ideas & Technology Can Change the World [stanfordbusiness YouTube channel, June 19, 2013] the same appeared as Jack Ma: E-Commerce and the China Opportunity [TeamAlibaba YouTube channel, May 9, 2013] with “… talks about his unusual entrepreneurial beginnings at …. See what else he has to say about e-commerce and the China opportunity.

Jack Ma, the founder of China’s most profitable e-commerce company Alibaba Group, made his last public speech at Stanford University on May 4th, 2013 before stepping down as CEO. In his talk, Ma discussed why embracing change is critical for global leaders managing the fast turnover of technology. The event was co-hosted by Alibaba Group and the Stanford Graduate School of Business’s Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SPRIE): http://stnfd.biz/lVQGt Transcript (English): http://stnfd.biz/mZAZw Transcript (Mandarin): http://stnfd.biz/mZB1D
Jack Ma reflects at Stanford during final days as CEO; says ‘people bet I’d be a loser’ [By Daniel Limón on SPRIE, May 14, 2013], see also the full transcript in English (PDF)
Speaking without notes or visual aids on May 4th at Stanford University’s NVIDIA Auditorium, founder and former CEO of Alibaba Group Jack Ma unspooled a farewell talk that at moments turned highly personal and deeply reflective: Ma spoke openly about his persistent failures in school, including spending seven years in elementary school and being rejected by Harvard ten times, and about his struggles to jumpstart Alibaba with only 50,000 RMB.
Less than two minutes into his talk at the event co-hosted by Alibaba Group and the Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SPRIE) of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Ma touched on the trials and travails he had faced early on as an internet and e-commerce pioneer in China. “Back in 1995,” revealed Ma, “I felt I was a loner and people thought I was a cheater. They said I was trying to make something out of nothing.” In fact, added Ma, his first interview with CCTV was censored at the behest of the producer, who feared Ma’s talk about giving the Chinese government internet access was “not a positive influence” and made Ma “look like a bad guy.”
Ma’s personal struggles, however, began well before he knew anything about e-commerce—in elementary school—where Ma confessed to being such a bad pupil that no school in his hometown of Hangzhou wanted him. In high school, he spent three years taking the college entrance exam before scoring high enough to enroll in a local teachers college. Harvard rejected him ten times. “Nobody said that I would be a very capable person that would do something significant or meaningful in the future,” Ma admitted to a silent and still audience of about 100 people. Ma also recalled his father asking him to focus and do calligraphy. “I couldn’t really do it—I didn’t have good penmanship,” he said.
It’s clear the former English teacher turned internet billionaire never let the doubts of his detractors or the rejections from Harvard spoil his high aspirations—in fact, Ma credited the Silicon Valley for inspiring him to bring internet innovation to China amid the setbacks: “I knew nothing about technology, but every time I came to Silicon Valley, on the weekends I would see cars fill each and every parking lot… I saw the lights were on at each and every office building. When everyone spoke, their eyes were filled with sparkles. They were really hopeful about the future. So I was really inspired when I went back to China—I thought that I should do an internet business.”
So Ma did, founding Alibaba Group in 1999 with 17 other co-founders. Today, Alibaba is China’s largest e-commerce firm, something Ma readily admitted exceeded his wildest dreams: “I never thought that Jack Ma would have, in the future, a day like today. I never thought that Alibaba or Taobao or any type of transaction developed by Taobao would have a day like today. I never thought the internet would have a day like today.”
Midway through the speech, the 49-year-old seasoned entrepreneur also struck a philosophical and political chord, making tacit references to god, social conflict, war, and generational change. He encouraged the audience to be grateful for living in an era of great opportunity, adding “the worst thing is that mankind experiences war… if we can actually solve problems through economic development, we will not need wars and we can actually use economic development to influence many people.” He warned, nonetheless, that in the next 30 years the world would face a host of unknown vicissitudes, including “lots of social conflicts,” which Ma described as opportunities for young people. “If everything stays stable, we are not going to have any opportunities.”
Ma also gave the audience his views on the state of China’s present social milieu: “This is the best of times, this is the worst of times,” remarked Ma. “Nobody is happy in China… there’s a lack of trust and nobody is happy. The poor people are unhappy; the rich people are unhappy. The government doesn’t trust media; the media doesn’t trust government. We are in an era of constant change.”
At least twice during his speech, the founder of China’s most profitable e-commerce company also took spirited swipes at some of his personal critics. “You know, we are experiencing economic and political restructuring and they want me to commit suicide. Lots of people are asking, ‘why are you not advocating for political restructuring?’ I don’t feel that’s actually something that can be done. I feel that lots of people encouraging me to do that have foreign passports. And they aren’t going to stay in China as long as they see the situation changing. They’re going to flee the country.” Ma also took to task those that ask why he runs a technology company if he knows so little about technology. He said it’s like asking a real estate developer “you know nothing about constructing a house—how can you be a real estate developer?”
Fourteen years removed from when he founded Alibaba, Ma’s personal belief is that one shows respect and admiration for technology and the people that develop it. “That you don’t know about technology,” said Ma, “doesn’t mean you don’t respect technology.”
You can understand the role of Alibaba in global e-commerce (already) via Small Business Success: DS Global Corporation (DS글로벌) [TeamAlibaba YouTube channel, July 17, 2013]
A look at how DS Global Corporation (DS글로벌) president, Heaon-Jae Lee, found success for his small business in the automotive industry using Alibaba.com from Korea. From early on, Lee understood how the internet could help him reach new markets around the world. He now works with companies across 70 countries, including Turkey, USA, Spain, South Africa, Brazil and Russia.
and for making simple the task of global sourcing for potential customers there is an all-encompassing service on Alibaba.com, the AliSourcePro [TeamAlibaba YouTube channel, July 3, 2013]
Find out more and submit your buying request now at:http://www.Alibaba.com/AliSourcePro Save time and find quality suppliers in one easy step to use sourcing platform. AliSourcePro makes sourcing easy!
More information:
Why Alibaba’s Future Looks Bright [Tech In Asia, May 21, 2013]
Why Alibaba could be China’s next $100bln IPO [Reuters’ Analysis & Opinion blog, April 25, 2013]
Interview with Alibaba.com’s Chairman, Jack Ma [a bmpcroxon article now available only via Alibaba Trade Forums, Oct 23, 2006]
Jack Ma, In the Chinese Cave of Alibaba – La Tribune, Business section [Alibaba Trade Forums, Aug 13, 2007]

Lead #2: Here’s why a war has started between Chinese Internet giants Tencent and Alibaba [The Next Web, Aug 5, 2013]

Chinese Internet giant Tencent has been on a roll recently — for a while last week, it seemed that plenty of other Chinese tech companies wanted to be friends with the firm behind WeChat, a wildly popular messaging service in the country.
However, a huge crack appeared in its veneer of popularity toward the end of the week when Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba suddenly suspended its working relationship with WeChat, marking the start of war.
A series of collaborations and one break-off
Last week, Chinese telecom operators did a surprise turn-around after previously getting upset that WeChat was allegedly stealing users away from traditional SMS.
China Unicom officially announced the introduction of a new SIM card that includes an independent data package for WeChat. Subsequently, it was reported that China Telecom would launch a plan that includes 2GB worth of data specifically for WeChat as well as Sina Weibo — though WeChat was obviously the focus of this package.
Following that, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi launched its latest Hongmi phone — at $130, it is the lowest-priced in Xiaomi’s range — in collaboration with Qzone, a social networking website owned by Tencent.
Tencent seemed to be riding the wave of popularity throughout last week — until all of a sudden, Alibaba announced that it was suspending all WeChat-related marketing applications from its e-commerce sites.
Alibaba cited misuse by sellers as the reason for doing so, but in the next moment, the company announced that it was launching a “Weibo-Taobao” platform to make it easier for customers on the Twitter-like microblogging platform to shop on e-commerce site Taobao. Interestingly enough, it was also revealed that Sina Weibo will provide Taobao sellers with marketing services.
This suspension of any existing working relationship is a clear indication that war has started between the two Chinese Internet giants — Tencent and Alibaba.
Unlikely rivals cross paths
It would seem that the two make unlikely rivals. The former focuses on providing service portals, while the other mainly dabbles in e-commerce.
However, Alibaba — which makes more money than eBay and Amazon combined — has been showing interest in tapping into the social market. It took an 18 percent stake in Sina’s Weibo in a bid to slow down Tencent’s WeChat success and also bought 28 percent of AutoNavi, China’s top mapping system, suggesting that it is focusing on maps as another prong of its social strategy.
This comes as Tencent revealed last year that it was looking to expand its business into a number of new areas as it sought to increase its already sizable online presence and appeal to advertisers — one of which was e-commerce, which would infringe on Alibaba’s presence. Subsequently, it created an e-commerce subsidiary called Tencent E-Commerce Holding Company.
Just recently, Tencent also led a $150 million investment in design-focused e-commerce service Fab.com, aimed at helping the firm learn more about global e-commerce models.
Alibaba’s fear of Tencent’s social power
Why would Alibaba be so afraid of Tencent though, given that Tencent has not yet made its big jump into e-commerce? The reason is simple:
Tencent’s dominance in the social market.
The power of social is something that every company aspires to have. Communities form opinions and can ultimately define future products and services, according to Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst and partner at Altimeter Group.
Right now, it is clear that even if communities haven’t entirely started defining products and services yet, they can decide which ones should get the love. This means that if you have the community on your side, you have a significant advantage.
And Tencent has the power of communities on its side, which could easily become a force to be reckoned with. QQ had close to 800 million active accounts at the end of 2012, while WeChat has nearly 400 million users in all, out of which there are 195 million monthly active users.
This means that any new initiative rolled out by Tencent, such as e-commerce, could very possibly tip the scale to its favor.
Even though Tencent has not started mapping a clear route to develop e-commerce, its dabbling into selling peripherals such as stickers and games could see it inch slowly toward rolling out more products.

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Furthermore, Tencent has the payments solution in place to enable possible e-commerce. The company owns Tenpay, a PayPal-like online payments solution. Its QQ platform also has a virtual currency already, while the latest update to Weixin (what WeChat is known as in China) saw it introduce mobile in-app payments linked to a banking account which is in turn supported by TenPay.
A Sina Tech report noted that by introducing payments onto WeChat, Tencent is literally declaring war on Alipay, the mobile payments company spun off by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. The report cites a source close to Alipay as saying that the company had already sensed the impending threat of TenPay being integrated into WeChat, and has been developing new techniques to head off the challenge – for example, it recently announced a major update of its mobile app, Alipay Wallet.
Who will win the war?
Alibaba has shown all intentions of fighting this war to victory. Newly-installed Chief Executive Jonathan Lu has pledged to continue the e-commerce giant’s recent string of big investments as it continues focusing on improving its services for mobile. Lu wants Alibaba’s service – and in particular its two biggest e-commerce businesses: virtual ‘mall’ for brands Tmall and eBay-likeTaobao marketplace – to make better use of customer data to provide a more tailored user experience.
However, even Tencent’s rival — and Alibaba’s ally – Sina has publicly admitted that WeChat is causing its users to spend less time on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo service.
In other words, Tencent isn’t China’s biggest Internet company without a reason. By harnessing the power of social, Tencent has laid its foundation well and could easily spread its influence into a wider variety of businesses.
John Hancock once said: The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.
The community that Tencent has painstakingly built up over the years will lead to much easier influence in the future, which bodes well for its business. On the other hand, Alibaba needs to brush up on its social influence in China. It is doing swimmingly well in its main businesses — which include e-commerce, financial solutions and big data — and has been tipped for a multi-billion-dollar initial public offering (between $60 billion-$70 billion), but its lack of a persuasive social strategy still sticks out like a sore thumb.
Could the tables turn though? Definitely, considering that Alibaba has already recognized this and is taking steps to beef up its social strategy. In war, victory is always possible as long as you keep fighting. Who knows, Alibaba could one day just as easily roll out a phenomenal success like WeChat.
Then I recommend to watch Tencent [firecracker888 YouTube channel, Dec 4, 2012], note that the “weixin” service (mentioned in the video by Chinese) is WeChat mentioned above
Tencent is one of the WPP, BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2013. Each brand has its own individual story and to tell them we have put together 50 short films – one on each of the brands in the rankings.
To close this lead section is best with these 13 months old Tencent CEO interview which speaks for the whole Internet industry in China, also by clearly expressing its global expansion potential:  Tencent’s Pony Ma (马化腾) on China’s internet economy [NUS Business School  YouTube channel, July 1, 2012]
Founder and CEO of China’s biggest internet company speaks to NUS Business School on the challenges and opportunities in China’s fast-changing dotcom sector.

End of the Lead Contents

My preliminary investigation was concluded in an ‘April 13, 2013 Report’, which is following after the above sections, and organized around the following findings:

Digitimes Research: Smartphone sales to reach 329 million in China in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, March 18, 2013]
China Mobile aims to sell 100-120 million TD-SCDMA handsets in 2013 [DIGITIMES, March 15, 2013]
China Mobile 2013 capex increases 49% on year [DIGITIMES, March 14, 2013]
China Mobile to build world’s largest 4G network [CCTV News via GoUTube123 YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2013]
China Mobile launched 100 cities 1 million terminals-covered 4G plan to create world’s largest 4G network [GTI News, March 8, 2013]
China Mobile to procure TD-LTE devices from Huawei, ZTE, Samsung [DIGITIMES, March 19, 2013]
China Mobile: 4G licensing expected by year-end [China Daily, March 13, 2013]
China to lead mobil payment technology [CCTV News via GoUTube123 YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2013]
Commercializing 4G in China needs 1 yr: minister [China Daily, March 15, 2013]
FRANCE 24 Report : Chinese smartphone brands take bite out of APPLE [france24englishYouTube channel, Feb 18, 2013]
Rise of Chinese smartphones [CNNInternational YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]
Mike Walsh on Global Innovation [cmispeakers YouTube channel, Feb 5, 2013]
China Smartphone Sector [Asia Pacific/China Equity Research, Credit Suisse, Jan 7, 2013]
Chinese Smartphones [FinancialTimesVideos YouTube channel, April 5, 2012]
Chinese smartphones going big [CCTV News via the GoUTube123 YouTube channel, July 11, 2012]
Handset Industry 2013 Outlook [Asia Pacific/China Equity Research, Credit Suisse, Jan 7, 2013]
SED Electronics Market (Tablets Market) in Shenzhen walk-through [Charbax YouTube channel, March 17, 2013]
Allwinner A31 9.7″ Retina factory tour at Celeb Tech [Charbax YouTube channel, March 17, 2013]

Then followed by More information

This getting even more interesting as the quite dramatic by itself introductory information is only one of the reasons (more will follow below) why we can say that China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web … even if such a power of influence is too new for the country to be able to exercise that to a greater degree (yet): China Knocks Off U.S. to Become World’s Top Smart Device Market [Peter Farago on the Flurry blog, Feb 18, 2013]

Nevertheless the collection given below in the ‘Background’ section is showing that potential. Just look at the major headlines in that section:
China becomes world’s top smartphone producer
China’s e-commerce revenue hits over 1 trillion yuan in 2012: minister
China’s top microblog site boasts 500 mln users
China expected to issue 4G licenses this year: minister
Preparing for a 4G network across China
ZTE leads in 4G wireless networks
EU telecom demands raise tensions with China
China has till June for solar, telecoms trade deal: EU
China’s mobile phone users reach 1.11 bln
China market: Samsung takes up 22.5% of 2012 smartphone sales, says iiMedia Research
Smart phones cover 70 pct of mobile market: report
Android powers a third of all mobile phones shipped in 4Q12, says Canalys
Google controls too much of China’s smartphone sector: ministry
Too late for China to develop own mobile operating systems, say Taiwan makers
China handset makers hope to reduce reliance on Android
China to modify plan to open up mobile telecom sector
4M[bps] broadband to cover 70 percent of Chinese users in 2013
Broadband network expansion in the pipeline

DETAILS


1. The new frontier: application service (e.g. WeChat) global expansion with lead market advantage and tremendous growth opportunity lying ahead

The new frontier: WeChat striving for global expansion [ChinaDaily, Aug 5, 2013]

Lisa Tseretzoulias, a 51-year-old office administrator living in Montreal, Canada, came across WeChat a year ago and instantly fell in love. “I like it a lot and have recommended it to family and friends.”
WeChat, known as weixin in Chinese, is the country’s most popular messaging and social media app developed by Tencent, China’s biggest Internet firm. WeChat is often likened toWhatsApp, developed by a US firm, and Japan’s Line.
But WeChat is more than a messenger app and packs a host of other features, including a hold-to-talk function that allows users to send audio messages to other WeChat users, much like a walky-talky. It’s also a social media platform to post photos and make comments, much like Facebook. Companies and celebrities can open a special account to interact with fans and build a following. NBA basketball player LeBron James has an account.
Founded in 1998 in the southern city of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, Tencent has over the past decade proven itself to be China’s undisputed king of messaging, with its banner instant messaging service called QQ, China’s largest instant messaging service with over 800 million users. With a shift in Internet usage from personal computers to smartphones and tablets, Tencent launched WeChat in 2011.
By the end of the first half of 2013, the number of WeChat users in China had exceeded 400 million, driving revenue growth from mobile traffic up by 56.8 percent, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Just like the impact Skype has had on landlines, the heavy use of WeChat in China now poses a challenge for telecom operators, whose revenues for text messaging—its most profitable business—fell markedly, leading to a debate overwhether or not to charge a user fee for the application. The attempt by telecom operators to pressure WeChat to charge for the service was roundly condemned by Chinese netizens and others who called on the phone companies to leave WeChat alone and develop their own products to compete. So far, Tencent has no plans to charge users for the popular app but says it will cooperate with China’s big telecom players in other ways.
WeChat is already a huge domestic success and is used by everyone from teenagers to their parents to their grandparents. But Tencent is not satisfied with success in the home market and is branching out globally tooth-and-nail. Roadblocks, however, remain.
With an eye on the international market, WeChat is now available in 18 languages, including English, Indonesian, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Vietnamese and Russian. The app can be used on almost all mainstream mobile phone systems thanks to a first-class research and development team at Tencent. WeChat is growing quickly in overseas markets. Tencent announced on July 3 that WeChat has accrued over 70 million registered overseas users, a sharp jump from the 40 million users it claimed it had back in April.
“The software has been especially successful in Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and the Philippines,”said Martin Lau, President of Tencent, at a developer conference held in Beijing on July 3.
To further expand its user coverage, Tencent has unveiled an advertising campaign featuring internationally famed soccer star Lionel Messi to run in 15 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, India, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Spainand Turkey.
WeChat has adopted a localization strategy when branching out by hiring celebrities as part of its marketing efforts. A much-loved feature of WeChat is a wide range of cartoon emoticons that users can send to each other, called emoji. With overseas markets in mind, WeChat hasd esigned emoticons featuring local big names. For instance, in India, Tencent roped in popular Bollywood actors Parineeti Chopra and Varun Dhawan as brand ambassadors. Emotes featuring the two Bollywood stars caused a sensation in the country. WeChat is also working closely with businesses overseas and is cooperating with Chang, a well-known beverage company in Thailand.
WeChat’s fun features coupled with Tencent’s strong marketing skills have made the app popular across different markets and helped the app’s popularity soar. User growth is one encouraging sign for the tech company, one of several Chinese Internet companies that have ambitions to expand their businesses abroad. “Successful or not, this is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Tencent,” said Ma Huateng, co-founder and Board Chairman of Tencent, speaking about Tencent’s global layout.
Not easy
While boosting popularity among users outside China, WeChat is faced with competition in the global mobile-chat app market from WhatsApp, Line and Kakao from South Korea.
WhatsApp announced in June it has racked up over 250 million active monthly users worldwide. Line announced on July 23 that it has amassed 200 million global users, and Kakao said in July that the number of its users has topped 95 million. The four are bound to duke it out in the global market.
WeChat has made a splash in emerging nations, especially in Southeast Asia, and has yet to gain a foothold in a large developed economy like the United States, a highly coveted market. By the end of September 2012, there were 100,000 registered WeChat users in theUnited States, a distant cry from the numbers WeChat will need to make an impact beyond the limited population of Chinese-Americans and Chinese students studying there. To that end, Tencent opened an office in February to study the US market and form partnerships with US firms to boost the app’s popularity.
In comparison with the boom in Southeast Asia, WeChat is in its nascent stages of development inthe United States. WeChat faces stiff competition from Line and the Japanese company also has designs on the US market. For now, it’s unclear exactly how WeChat stacks up against its rivals in the battle for the UnitedS tates.
“The US market is a difficult and important one for any Internet company. Many first-class Internet products and companies were born there. The US market is highly sought out by many foreigncompanies and products, and WeChat is no exception,” reads a recent statement from Tencent in February.
“The United States is the most difficult market to tap in our global campaign,” said Ma. “China’s Internet companies lag far behind their globally successful peers and have never been a globals uccess. But now mobile phone and Internet use is developing faster in Asia than in the West. This has given China’s Internet companies a precious opportunity to surpass Western ones,” said Ma, who touts that WeChat is more innovative and user-friendly than its rivals.
But one major concern has Tencent worried: If its popularity grows, could other nations erect the same kind of roadblocks to expansion that have plagued Chinese telecommunications companies like Huawei and ZTE? Both companies have seen their efforts to expand into the United States halted over “national security” concerns.
WeChat has already run into such resistance. India’s intelligence bureau has reportedly proposed a ban on WeChat, saying that the app has already possessed too much personal information on Indians. The United States and other Western nations may suggest the same, fearing that too much citizen data could easily fall into the hands of the Chinese Government.
In response, a spokeswoman for Tencent said, “We have taken user data protection seriously in our product development and daily operations, and like other international peers, we comply with relevant laws in the countries where we have operations.”
Given the recent revelations that the US National Security Agency has been snooping on the e-mails of Americans, users may have few nagging doubts about downloading the Chinese app.
Another issue is whether China’s global image will hold back WeChat in international markets since China is often associated with producing cheap, low-quality products. Persistent foods candals and toxic toys have created a lack of trust of Chinese-made goods in developed countries and beyond.
Duncan Clark, Chairman of BDA China, a consulting firm that specializes in China’s technology and Internet sectors, told The New York Times that WeChat has the potential to overcome anylingering doubts in the West over the made-in-China label, saying potential users would haveno idea the product is Chinese when visiting, for example, an app store, thereby leveling theplaying field for mobile-chat app developers.
Robin Pinsto, a 54-year-old WeChat user in Canada, said she was surprised the app is Chinese.
“I started using WeChat six months ago and I use it every day now. I think WeChat is even better than WhatsApp, with its wide range of cartoon images and other functions,” said Pinsto. “I think WeChat has a shot at being a global success.”
Tseretzoulias, the office administrator in Montreal, has no qualms about WeChat’s origins.
“It doesn’t concern me which country developed it, as long as it’s good to use.”

The lead market advantage: China´s online population nearly 600 mln [CCTVupdates YouTube channel, July 19, 2013]

China’s online population hits 591 million [Shanghai Daily via Xinhuanet, July 18, 2013]

China’s Internet population reached 591 million by the end of June, fueled by a booming mobile Internet user base, a top industry group said yesterday.

More than 70 percent of the new users accessed the Internet via smartphones or other wireless devices. These users are already accustomed to services like instant messaging such as Tencent’s WeChat and payment modes like Alibaba’s Alipay on handsets, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), a government-authorized Internet research organization based in Beijing.

CNNIC publishes China’s Internet development report twice a year, which is regarded as an authoritative dot-com review of the country.

“The traditional Internet applications (e-mail and search engine) have developed smoothly in the period but mobile Internet has come into the spotlight,” CNNIC said in a statement on its website.

By the end of June, China had 591 million Internet users, a 10 percent growth from a year ago, and indicating that 44.1 percent of the country’s population uses the web. The Internet penetration rate was 2 percentage points more from the end of last year, CNNIC revealed.

The growing web applications were online music, video, games and literature, according to CNNIC.

China’s mobile Internet user base reached 464 million by June, 78.5 percent of the total Internet users, compared with 72.2 percent a year ago, the center said.

Mobile Internet has become new economy development engine with an increasing number of users and latest innovation, according to Analysys International, a Beijing-based research firm.

WeChat, which is mainly used on mobile platforms, has attracted more than 400 million users in China within about a year. Its developer Tencent has launched WeChat in overseas markets and expects to reach the 500-million user mark soon.

GSMA, a global mobile communications industry association, said last month that by 2017, the Asia Pacific region will have 1.9 billion mobile subscribers, accounting for almost half of the predicted global total of 3.9 billion.

The popularity of smartphones and wider coverage of 3G network, which provides faster web access, will continue to boost the user base of mobile Internet, CNNIC added.

And there is tremendous growth ahead. Here are the latest quarterly trends for the current situation of the mobile Internet according to operators’ company data:

image

China’s H1 telecom income up 8.9% [Xinhua, July 24, 2013]

China’s telecom business income increased 8.9 percent year on year in the first half of 2013, with 319 million users of 3G technology, a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) official said on Wednesday.

At a press conference about the communication industry, Zhu Hongren, the MIIT’s chief engineer, also said that from January to May, the country’s information consumption surged 19.8 percent year on year to 1.38 trillion yuan (223.68 billion U.S. dollars).

He said the mobile Internet sector has grown along with broadband access, online shopping and mobile payments.

Information consumption has become a new way to stimulate domestic demand and has been crucial in boosting China’s economy as foreign trade of goods and services only contributed 0.9 percent to the gross domestic product in the first half of 2013.

Zhu said China had more than 400 million users of Weixin, a popular free WhatsApp-like messaging service with all the functions of short messaging service (SMS) by the end of June.

The application, developed by one of the country’s largest information technology (IT) companies, Tencent Holdings Ltd., helped income through mobile Internet data traffic rise “56.8 percent in the January-June period,” according to Zhu.

Thanks to new platforms like Weixin and Sina Weibo, China’s most popular Twitter-like microblog, the country’s e-commerce market size grew 38.5 percent year on year to 5.4 trillion yuan and sales of smart phones and televisions both surged over 25 percent, Zhu added.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang demanded at a meeting of the State Council, China’s Cabinet, on July 12 an average growth rate of over 20 percent in information consumption in the next three years.

Zhu Jun, another MIIT’s official, said the ministry is mapping out measures to realize the growth objective through building and upgrading the network communication infrastructure, enhancing the application and service of 3G technology and promoting the private capital in the telecom market.

Meanwhile, the government will push the share of education and medical treatment resources, encourage innovation in e-commerce and strengthen the safety of private network information, Zhu Jun added.

Digitimes Research: China 3G service subscribers to top 300 million in 1H13 [DIGITIMES Research, June 26, 2013]

The number of 3G service subscribers in China is expected to top 322 million by the end of the first half of 2013, representing a penetration rate of 27.1%. Meanwhile, sales of smartphones in China will total 170 million units in the first half of 2013, up 51% on the prior six-month period, according to Digitimes Research.

In the second quarter of 2013, Samsung Electronics delivered a total of 14.5 million smartphones, including entry-level to mid-range 3G models and the high-end Galaxy S4, in China, accounting for a 15.7% share.

Lenovo ranked second with smartphone shipments totaling 8.6 million units in the second quarter, followed by Coolpad with 8.4 million units, Huawai with 8.0 million units and Apple with 7.7 million units.

Buoyed by brisk sales of its 3.5-inch entry-level models and CNY1,000 (US$163) dual-core models, Coolpad outperformed both Huawei and Apple to take the third-rank title in China in the second quarter and accounted for a 9.1% share.

Sales of Apple smartphones were lower than expected in the second quarter as the US-based vendor did not release any new models during the period. But Apple may see its sales rebound in the second half of 2013, powered by the planned launch of a low-priced model as well as a TD-SCDMA version iPhone.

The penetration rate of 3G telecom services in China is expected to reach 30-40% for all of 2013, and total smartphone sales will reach 390 million units in the year, including 280 million units sold through the retail channels of telecom carriers, estimated Digitimes Research.

The world biggest operator, Chinal Mobile is heavily increasing its 3G penetration. Here are the latest monthly change trends for the current situation according to operators’ company data:

image

CBBC Webinar – The Evolution of Social Business in China [China-Britain Business Council YouTube channel, recorded on July 17, published on July 30, 2013]

Wednesday 17th July 2013 – Presented by: Lewis Rosa, Consulting Manager, Social Business Consulting, CIC Background: China is home to an active community of over half a billion internet users, or netizens, over three quarters of whom are creating original content, which when compared to less than a quarter of American internet users, puts any accusations that China lacks creativity firmly to bed. They’re also far more inclined to discuss brands, products and services. This committed engagement and creativity begets a bonanza of social business intelligence if you know where to look, or more accurately, how to listen This webinar covers: • China’s vast, fractured and dynamic digital landscape • The evolving tastes and behaviors of Chinese netizens • Social listening to inspire creative and inform strategy • Operational implications of social business development

Half of Chinese urban kids surf Internet [Xinhua, July 30, 2013]

About half, or 52.6 percent, of kids aged four to six in urban areas of China know how to use the Internet, according to a report on the lifestyle of Chinese children.

In the survey, which covered 9,114 four-16 year olds in 10 provincial areas or cities including Beijing, Wuhan and Qingdao, 93.2 percent of 13-16 year olds have used the Internet, The Beijing Times cited the report as saying on Saturday.

The report put the proportion of seven-nine year olds and 10-12 year olds accessing the Internet at 58.6 and 77.1 percent respectively, according to The Beijing Times.

In addition, it showed that 57.5 percent of the respondents use mobile phones, about 26 percent use Twitter-like microblogs, and 17.9 percent use tablet computers.

China’s netizen population, the world’s largest, continues to grow and reached 591 million at the end of June, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

China Blocks Swedish Town Because of It’s Name [ChinaForbiddenNews, Feb 16, 2013]

Beijing launches platform for debunking online rumors [Xinhua, Aug 1, 2013]

Six Chinese websites jointly launched a platform on Thursday to refute online rumors, a move that an official has termed Beijing’s latest endeavor to clean up the “Internet environment.”

The platform is a website that collects statements from Twitter-like services, news portals and China’s biggest search engine, Baidu, to refute online rumors and expose the scams of phishing websites.

The platform operates under the instruction of the Beijing Internet Information Office (BIIO) and the Beijing Internet Association, a non-profit social organization.

The popular use of the Internet has expanded Chinese people’s channels of expression, but also facilitated the circulation of rumors and false information, said Chen Hua, director of the Internet information service and management department under the BIIO.

“The platform will be a new try by Beijing’s websites to eradicate online rumors and raise Internet users’ awareness of telling rumors from the truth,” he said.

The platform was jointly launched by websites Qianlong, Sogou, Sohu, Netease, Baidu and Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-like microblogging service.

So far, the first phase of the platform has been completed, said Chen.

It has collected about 100,000 brief statements on online rumors and phishing websites and offered Internet users about 30 websites through which they can report online rumors or scams.

Operators of the platform will spend another year finishing the second phase. Once that is complete, more entertaining and interactive programs will be introduced to encourage the public to report online rumors.

WHY RUMORS TRAVEL FAST

Some Internet users create rumors to attract attention, while others do it to blow off some steam. But rumors fabricated on purpose can be dangerous and incite panic, said Min Dahong, a researcher on Internet usage.

Based on Wu Chenguang’s observations, rumors travel especially fast in times of emergency such as natural disasters and other mass incidents.

Wu is the news center director of Sohu. In June last year, the web portal’s news center launched a program called “Rumor Terminator” and has handled 300 rumors to date.

Soon after downpours hit Beijing on July 21, 2012, Internet users began disseminating photos of severe flooding that had been taken years earlier.

Another example involves rumors about earthquake forecasts. Internet users claim that people had successfully predicted that an earthquake would shake Lushan County, Sichuan Province, as early as five years ago, but these claims weren’t made until after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Lushan County on April 20, leaving at least 196 dead.

Such rumors had an extremely harmful influence, Wu Chenguang said, adding that the government’s slow pace in releasing information has allowed Internet users to spread their rumors easily.

When explaining why rumors travel fast in China, Min Dahong proposed that it is because rumors touch on issues of common concern.

The Chinese people now care about their surroundings. Rumors travel fast because they cater to public curiosity and concern about environmental protection, food safety and corruption, he said.


2. Online shopping growing very fast

CHINA’S SHOPS SUFFER AS ONLINE RIVALS BOOM [CCTVupdates YouTube channel, June 4, 2013]

CBBC Webinar – yourcompany com cn — Online Presence in China [China-Britain Business Council YouTube channel, recorded on Jan 16, published on July 30, 2013]

Wednesday 16th January 2013, presented by Richard Unwin, Backbone IT Group. This webinar discusses webpage content, social media and how Chinese people interact with the internet. The topics covered are as follows: – How does the internet differ between UK & China? – Visual impact of web design in China – Content — what do Chinese readers want to learn from your website? – Engage your target audience while retaining your corporate image – Social Media

China Focus: Online shopping penetrates smalltown China [Xinhua, July 30, 2013]

Online shopping is no longer exclusively for city dwellers, as residents of smaller locales are now spending more money buying goods on the Internet.

People living in counties and townships each spent an average of 5,628 yuan (910.7 U.S. dollars) online in 2012, almost 1,000 yuan more than their urban counterparts, according to a report released Monday by Taobao, China’s leading online shopping website.

The report showed that township residents placed an average of 54 orders each on Taobao in 2012, far more than the 39 orders placed by e-shoppers living in China’s first- and second-tier cities.

Major international brands like Estee Lauder have sold well in counties and townships. Shoppers in those locations spent an average of 765 yuan apiece on Estee Lauder cosmetics, slightly more than the 652 yuan spent by first- and second-tier city residents.

Over 30 million county residents spent a combined total of 179 million yuan on Taobao, according to figures posted online by the company.

Although residents’ incomes tend to be lower in small towns and counties, their online spending habits are similar to those of urban residents, according to a report released in March by McKinsey Global Institute.

The McKinsey report said that for every 100 yuan spent online, 57 yuan is spent by people in third- and fourth-tier cities, greater than the national average of 39 yuan.

The county-level city of Yiwu, ranked by Forbes as the richest county in China, topped the Taobao ranking, with online spending totaling 3.4 billion yuan.

Residents in Qingliu County in southeast China’s Fujian Province spent a staggering 20,151 yuan, or 72.55 percent of their combined income, on online shopping. In first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the ratio has yet to exceed 27 percent.

The report also showed that 22 percent of Taobao customers in small towns used its mobile application to shop online. But the percentage declined to 17 percent in first- and second-tier cities.

Commentary: Global online shopping benefits Chinese manufacturers [Xinhua, July 16, 2013]

With just a few clicks on a shopping website, a Nigerian girl buys her favorite wig, to be delivered to her home several days later from China.

That was a scene shown Sunday by Chinese national broadcaster CCTV.

An African girl buying Chinese products on the Internet is, by no means, an isolated case. In fact, cross-border online shopping has become quite a frenzy in recent years.

Despite that, though, online sales of Chinese-made goods in foreign markets are still a new phenomenon and represent a strategic opportunity for China’s giant manufacturing sector.

If the popularity of global online shopping continues to grow, it would provide a vital channel for China to sell more of its products to the rest of the world. In the long run, it may even reshape the face of global trade.

Overseas consumers can save a lot of money by purchasing quality goods from China via the Internet because the products are generally cheaper than their counterparts from elsewhere in the world.

This comparative advantage has made Chinese goods popular among online shoppers in Russia, Brazil, America and Europe. Chinese-made commodities such as clothes, suitcases, mobile phones and shoes are among the best-selling items.

In the larger picture, the trend may also help modify the unfair distribution of profits in global trade.

China has been the world’s largest exporter since 2009. However, it receives only a small portion of the profits generated by goods that are domestically produced but sold through retailers in developed economies.

The situation may be corrected, though, if online shopping continues to prosper across the globe and the made-in-China label can be brought directly to individual consumers.

Global online shopping, however, is still in its infancy and its future is closely tied to the development of online payment mechanisms, cross-border deliveries and tax issues.

It is safe to say, meanwhile, that online shopping is a rising wave sweeping the globe. Online shopping boasts unprecedented vitality and its significant role for Chinese-made goods should not be underestimated.

Mobile payment new technology [NFC] changing ways of consumption [CCTVupdates YouTube channel, July 3, 2013]

Beijing China Mobile users can make purchases with phone [cntv.cn via Xinhuanet, July 23, 2013]

Transit cards make taking the bus and subway in Beijing an easy thing. But they may soon be unnecessary.

Starting Monday, China Mobile users can use near-field-communication, or NFC-enabled handsets to get access to public buses and subway lines in Beijing. They can also make payments below 1,000 yuan at a number of up-scale shops. Beijing China Mobile customers can visit any of six designated China Mobile shops to switch their SIM cards out for new ones that will allow them to connect their phones to their bank accounts.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4, the HTC One, and some Huawei and ZTE models can support NFC functions.

China’s mobile payments to exceed 9 trln yuan in 2015: report [Xinhua, July 30, 2013]

Online payment transactions handled by Chinese mobile payment service providers will exceed 9 trillion yuan (1.45 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2015, according to an industry report published on Monday.

In 2012, the country’s mobile banking sector handled 800 billion yuan in online payment transactions, an increase of 265.3 percent from a year earlier, according to a report published by the Internet Society of China (ISC).

Last year, the country’s online payments rose 66 percent to nearly 3.7 trillion yuan, with fast growth in payments on premiums, according to the report.

Online premiums payments grew 123.8 percent year on year to 3.66 billion yuan in 2012, the report said.

The country’s online payment market is maturing with an accelerated growth of internet finance, said Shi Xiansheng, deputy secretary-general of the ISC.

Online payment transactions handled by Chinese payment service providers totaled 830 trillion yuan in 2012, according to data from the Payment & Clearing Association of China (PCAC).

China’s online payments total 830 trln yuan in 2012 [Xinhua, June 27, 2013]

Online payment transactions handled by Chinese payment service providers totaled 830 trillion yuan (about 134.3 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2012, according to an industry report published on Thursday.

In 2012, banks handled 19.2 billion online payment transactions totaling 823 trillion yuan, according to a report published by the Payment & Clearing Association of China (PCAC).

Another 10.46 billion online payment transactions amounting to 6.89 trillion yuan were handled by other payment agencies last year, the report said.

Online transactions are being used not only in traditional areas, such as online shopping and bill-paying, but also in areas related to education, tourism, fund products, insurance, community services and medical and health services, the report said.

But experts noted that the increasing variety of payment tools has also caused problems concerning the safety of funds and customer information, calling for strengthened regulation and supervision.

“The payment business is closely linked with people’s daily lives, so customers will be less tolerant of risks,” said PCAC’s deputy secretary-general Kang Lin.

The People’s Bank of China, or the central bank, has so far approved 197 non-financial institutions to provide payment services, of which 72 are eligible for online payment business, tPCAC data showed.

The association said mobile payments, or online payments made through mobile phones, totaling 2.31 trillion yuan were handled by banks in 2012, as well as 181.2 billion yuan in transactions handled by non-bank payment service providers.

China cloud computing conference kicks off [CCTVupdates YouTube channel, June 6, 2013]

[1:36] “China’s biggest cloud is Aliyun run by e-commerce giant Alibaba [China’s Amazon].” … … [2:44]

Alibaba, e-concierge, soon at your service [ChinaDaily via Xinhuanet, July 26, 2013]

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans to boost its presence in China’s online market, and is adding services to ease consumers’ daily lives, from ordering food to booking movie tickets.

The company expects the new business area to become a major revenue source in the future.

Online shopping has become a new way of life for many Chinese consumers, said Zhang Jianfeng, vice-president of Alibaba Group. And the company has realized that customers are not satisfied with merely buying items on Internet.

“Gradually, consumers are developing a strong demand for daily life services, in fields like catering, entertainment and travel,” Zhang said at a Beijing news conference on Thursday.

Taobao Life, a platform owned by Alibaba that provides such services, has been receiving unprecedented attention from Alibaba’s management since the beginning of the year. In March, Alibaba’s chairman Jack Ma said that “amazing” things will happen if everyday activities are combined with mobile Internet services.

Ma compared the growing importance of e-commerce in people’s lives to “the rising sun at 5 or 6 am”, and Alibaba expressed its ambition to develop the new business to reach a scale similar to its booming Taobao Marketplace.

If so, investors who are eyeing Alibaba’s possible initial public offering will find another bright spot for the company’s future profitability, analysts said.

Alibaba is said to be planning to include its e-commerce platforms – Taobao Mall, Taobao Marketplace and eTao – into the planned IPO package. Last year, Taobao Mall and Taobao Marketplace posted about 1 trillion yuan ($163 billion) in total transaction value.

Zhang revealed that the Taobao Life platform has three strategic business sectors. One is Taobao Diandian, a mobile application launched in July that helps customers order food. More than 100 restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou have opened services on Diandian.

Meanwhile, Taobao Movie is the nation’s biggest mobile platform to buy film tickets. It allows clients in more than 100 Chinese cities to select seats from about 800 theaters, Zhang said.

The company also set up a platform on Taobao Life, known as Offer, which provides people with classifieds in areas such as apartment rentals and housekeeping services.

Song Yang, e-commerce senior analyst with the Beijing-based research firm Analysys International, said that there’s a promising future for companies able to successfully combine people’s everyday needs with the Internet-based services.

“There are no official statistics about the size of the market, but this is the future of e-commerce. Because the services are all about making people’s everyday life better and easier, ” Song said.

Video Alibaba Group launches China Smart Logistics Network [CCTVupdates YouTube channel, May 30, 2013]

Tencent invests in Fab, takes on Alibaba [ChinaDaily via Xinhuanet, June 20, 2013]

US e-commerce website Fab.com said on Wednesday it had raised investment of $150 million from companies including Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Analysts said Tencent may help Fab enter the Chinese online market, which is expected to record nearly 2 trillion yuan ($326 billion) in sales by the end of this year.

Shenzhen-based Tencent said it will make a “minority investment” in the US company, but has not disclosed the value of its investment.

Tencent will have a seat in Fab’s boardroom after the deal is done.

Fab could take on as much as $100 million in further investment over the following months, company CEO Jason Goldberg told The Wall Street Journal.

The funds will be used to build its online stores, develop exclusive products and expand its international footprint, he said.

Fab is one of the leading online design retailers in the world. Tencent believes Fab has the potential to further develop under the wave of the global, social and mobile transformation of the e-commerce industry,” Tencent said via e-mail.

Founded in June 2011, Fab recorded revenue of $120 million last year. That figure is likely to reach $250 million by the end of this year, tech news website TNW said.

The Manhattan-based startup has 14 million registered members.

Tencent said its social strength and technical capabilities will help bring Fab to Internet users around the world.

Fab’s other investors include Japanese retail conglomerate Itochu Corp, an indication the company may be looking toward Asian markets.

China’s online shopping business is dominated by the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The company’s customer-to-customer platform, Taobao, contributed roughly 70 percent of the sector’s turnover. Alibaba also owns Tmall, the country’s No 1 business-to-customer portal.

Tencent has been vigorously building up its e-commerce segments to challenge Alibaba’s dominance. Its most recent attempt is authorizing payments via WeChat, its popular smartphone application.

Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center revealed that China had 242 million online shoppers by the end of 2012 – or more than 40 percent of the country’s entire Internet population.

Internet giants enter online pay market [ChinaDaily via Xinhuanet, July 11, 2013]

Chinese Internet giants Baidu Inc and Sina Corp received third party payment licenses from the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, to conduct related online payment services within the country.

According to the bank, the two Internet companies received official approval on July 6. Both companies were granted a five-year permission to conduct Internet payment businesses. Sina, which operates the twitter-like micro-blogging service Weibo, also got the nod to run a mobile phone payment business.

It means all major Chinese Internet companies, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd, have obtained third party payment licenses. Alipay, the online payment arm of Alibaba, together with Tencent’s Tenpay, were among the first companies to receive licenses from the People’s Bank of China – in May 2011.

The reasons why Baidu and Sina are latecomers in the online payment industry, even lagging far behind some Chinese telecom companies, is because their online payment branches are weak and didn’t receive much attention from their management, said Zhang Meng, an analyst with Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.

“Baidu’s and Sina’s application for online payment licenses have more strategic significance than immediate practical meaning for the two,” Zhang said.

Sina started to explore the Internet payment business in 2011. It launched the online payment tool SinaPay that year and upgraded the service into WeiboPay (micro-blogging wallet) in 2012. Every Weibo user automatically has a WeiboPay account. Sina said it hopes to provide a more convenient way for micro-blogging users to conduct transactions online and developers to charge users for products and services.

Sina Weibo introduced Alibaba as a stakeholder in May to act as a bridge for Sina to make use of the Alipay service. Analysts said it’s safer for Sina to have its own payment tool as it’s important to keep transaction data in Sina’s own realm.

“An online payment service will prompt Sina Weibo’s commercialization process,” Zhang said. Previously, Sina had made some attempts to generate money from its Weibo platform. It cooperated with mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi Corp to sell Xiaomi smartphones through WeiboPay last year. However, some shoppers complained after WeiboPay was paralyzed for a while through excessive use.

Baidu started investigating an online payment service as early as 2008 but the company’s enthusiasm for it cooled alongside the fall of its e-commerce business Baidu Youa.

Alibaba’s Alipay still dominates the Chinese Internet payment market. According to a report issued by Analysys International, Alipay had a 46.3 percent share of the online payment market in the first quarter of 2013, followed by Tencent’s Tenpay, with 20.3 percent.

Alipay had a total of 800 million registered accounts by the end of April. Tenpay said it had 200 million registered users by the end of last year.

Alibaba´s new online investment tool faces regulation challenge [CCTVupdates YouTube channel, June 24, 2013]

about Alipay

Say no to streaking to ensure online payment security [CRIENGLISH.com via Xinhuanet, April 12, 2013]

Seven leading internet companies, including Baidu, Microsoft and Alibaba, have formed an Internet Security Working Group.

It’s hoped the new collaboration will help lead to the better safeguarding of users’ and companies’ online profiles.

While Consumers enjoy the ease and the financial benefits of online shopping, sometimes their financial security and personal information can be threatened during the online payment process.

Many so-called phishing scams and malicious websites try to cheat consumers by convincing them to transfer money to their accounts instead of an online dealer’s accounts.

Li Xiaoling is a product manager with Alipay, the largest third-party payment company in China.

“Phishing websites imitate a popular website, like taobao.com and some other shopping websites. Consumers have to tell from small details whether they are really the websites that they want to visit.”

Ding Rui, a senior product manager with Microsoft, says no matter how strong systems become, phishing websites will never completely disappear.

“Driven by a strong financial interest, someone always wants to take the risk. And the word ‘risk’ is not so accurate, as there isn’t too much risk as a result of a lack of supervision and difficulty in handing out punishment.”

Alipay began fighting the problem of phishing sites at the end of 2007.

Li Qiushi is Alipay’s leading expert on market security.

“Actually, merchants, payment platforms, banks and consumers online are all victims of such behavior. We joined together to prevent these problems from occurring in advance initially. That has yielded noticeable effects.”

To be more alert, Alipay product manager Li Xiaoling suggests web users don’t access the internet without some sort of internet protection, such as an anti-virus software program or other safe control programs.

“Firstly, we hope consumers do not use the same pass code for various accounts online. Secondly, do not input personal information like ID numbers into unfamiliar websites or into those websites that the browser reports as being dangerous. Thirdly, check clearly the usage of different verification codes and do not tell strangers the codes.”

The internet companies taking part in the collaboration say it’s their hope they can raise consumer awareness to try to bring down the number of cases of online fraud here in China.


3. Applications, applications to be added to the search

Baidu searches for growth [TheDealVideo YouTube channel, July 17, 2013]

China’s largest search engine pays $1.9 billion for Chinese mobile app distributor 91 Wireless, betting big on a still small market

Baidu to buy 91 Wireless for 1.9 bln USD [Xinhua, July 16, 2013]

China’s leading search engine, Baidu, Inc. announced Tuesday that it will buy all equity interests in smartphone apps distributor 91 Wireless Websoft from NetDragon for a record 1.9 billion U.S. dollars.

The move, which is Baidu’s latest effort to diversify beyond its core search engine business, is set to mark China’s biggest merger and acquisition (M&A) in the Internet market after Yahoo’s 1-billion-U.S. dollar deal with Alibaba in 2005.

According to the MOU, Baidu will purchase the entire issued share capital of 91 Wireless for a total of 1.9 billion U.S. dollars.

Baidu and NetDragon will further negotiate and agree on the relevant terms of the proposed acquisition by Aug. 14 as the “Long Stop date” to buy Hong Kong-listed NetDragon’s 57.41-percent stake in 91 Wireless.

NetDragon is restricted from approaching or discussing with any third parties the sale of 91 Wireless.

Baidu said it intends to purchase the remaining equity interests in 91 Wireless from other shareholders based on terms and conditions similar to those offered to NetDragon, if they are willing to sell by Aug. 14.

In May, Baidu announced its plan to buy the online video business of PPS to rival industry leader Youku Tudou, which was created last year through the merger of the country’s two major video giants, Youku and Tudou.

My own insert: China’s Alibaba Buys Stake in Sina Weibo [NTDonChina YouTube channel, April 30, 2013]

A China’s e-commerce giant has purchased a stake in Sina Weibo, the country’s largest service provider of Twitter-like microblogs. Alibaba announced on Monday that it is acquiring 18% of Sina Weibo for $586 million. If the online retailer wanted to, it could increase the stake to 30% at an unspecified future date. Alibaba is like eBay in the United States. With the new deal, it will have access to Sina Weibo’s 46 million daily active users. According to the Wall Street Journal, Alibaba could be looking to boost its share of the mobile market against Google’s Android smartphones. Alibaba has been promoting its own smartphone operating system. It could boost the use of its OS by leveraging off the large amount of mobile customer data available through this alliance with Sina Weibo.

The deal came on the heels of Alibaba‘s announcement in April that it would take an 18-percent share in Sina Corp‘s microblogging service Weibo and a 28-percent stake in digital mapping company AutoNavi Holdings Ltd.

Experts said the M&A spree highlights the intense competition among Internet giants to secure dominance of the mobile Internet market, as an increasing number of Chinese are going online through mobile devices.

Data from the China Internet Networks Information Center show that China’s online population reached 564 million as of the end of last year, with the number of mobile Internet users hitting 420 million.

Baidu Buys Up China’s Internet [TheStreetTV YouTube channel, July 16, 2013]

Baidu is spending $1.9 billion to buy mobile app store 91 Wireless, making this the biggest Chinese internet takeover.

Baidu, 91 Wireless deal epitomizes mobile Internet scramble [Xinhua, July 17 2013]

The attempt by China’s biggest search engine, Baidu, to buy a leading apps platform epitomizes Chinese Internet giants’ quickening steps in mobile Internet, even though some question if the company to be bought is worth the price offered.

NASDAQ-listed Baidu Inc. announced on Tuesday its bid to buy all equity interests in smartphone apps distributor 91 Wireless Websoft for 1.9 billion U.S. dollars. The deal, if completed, will mark China’s biggest merger and acquisition in the Internet market after Yahoo’s 1-billion-U.S. dollar deal with Alibaba in 2005.

Analysts viewed the alliance as complementary in that Baidu will promote 91 Wireless’s smartphone app distribution systems, and in return, Baidu will be better able to contend for a position as a leading access portal for mobile Internet.

“Through the acquisition, Baidu not only gains access to app distribution, it will also attract around 100,000 app developers to its own platform in the future,” according to Ge Jia, an Internet analyst who was quoted in a Tuesday report by the Beijing News.

Ge said that digital mapping, voice, and app distribution represent the three battle grounds in the mobile Internet market in the future, and the deal could turn around Baidu’s current disadvantages in a market that already boasts strong rivals including Tencent and Alibaba.

On the same day as Baidu’s announcement, China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba also confirmed that it has made a strategic investment in outbound travel site qyer.com, as it seeks to boost its travel offerings, including plane tickets and hotels, on its marketplace site Taobao.

Industrial analysts even labeled this year’s mergers and acquisitions in the Internet industry as major players’ efforts to split the mobile Internet market and obtain a lion’s share.

In May, Baidu announced its plan to buy the online video business of PPS in order to rival industry leader Youku Tudou. Just one month earlier, Alibaba revealed it would take an 18-percent share in Sina Corp’s microblogging service Weibo and a 28-percent stake in digital mapping company AutoNavi Holdings Ltd.

Ge Jia said that Baidu expects to attract large numbers of advertisers through its purchase of 91 Wireless. Data shows that 12.9 billion apps had been downloaded through 91 Wireless’s two leading smartphone app distribution platforms in China as of Dec. 2012.

However, some believe that the 1.9-bln-U.S.-dollar tender by Baidu is too high for a company with an estimated value of only 140 million U.S. dollars two years ago.

“Baidu has no better choices because its strategic arrangements for the mobile Internet came too late and it has been at a disadvantaged position. So it is seeking to change the status quo through the costly deal,” said Wang Jun, a mobile Internet analyst with Analysys International.

Data from the China Internet Networks Information Center show that China’s online population reached 564 million as of the end of last year, with more than 74 percent of them, or 420 million, using cell phones to access the Internet.

“The Internet giants will not miss any opportunity amid the boom of mobile Internet,” said IT commentator Hong Bo. In a report published Tuesday by the China Business News, Hong said that Alibaba’s advantages lie in its strong capabilities to do business, while Tencent has flagship apps including WeChat, a free app that enables all-round communications in text, voice, picture and video form.

However, the commentator added that with advantages in technology, Baidu is also seeking to become a titan in app distribution through the acquisition of 91 Wireless.

Official stresses Party building in non-public enterprises [Xinhua, May 22,  2013]

A senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official has called for efforts to strengthen Party building in the country’s non-public enterprises.

Zhao Leji, head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the comments on Wednesday during an inspection in Beijing.

Visiting Baidu, China’s leading online search engine operator, Zhao called for more efforts to integrate businesses’ own developments with the progress of the country and society.

Moreover, the fostering of a corporate culture should be consistent with the practicing of socialist core values, the official said.

During his inspection, Zhao also underlined efforts to improve China’s talent pool, including innovations to attract, train, use and support talented people.

China’s Internet giants in acquisition spree [Xinhua, May 14, 2013]

China’s Internet giants have gone on a new acquisition spree in recent months as they ramp up efforts to diversify businesses amid the industry’s constantly changing dynamics.

Alibaba, China’s leading e-commerce firm, announced last week that it will pay 294 million U.S. dollars for a 28-percent stake in digital mapping company AutoNavi Holdings Ltd..

The move, following Alibaba’s previous deal to take an 18-percent share in Sina Corp’s microblogging service Weibo, is the giant’s latest attempt to map out a strategy in the key mobile Internet market, in which major companies have been vying for presence.

Li Zhi, an analyst with Internet service provider Analysys, noted that rather than developing new products on their own, the Internet giants have preferred to make up for their weak areas through mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to consolidate their positions.

Earlier this month, China’s online search leader Baidu Inc. announced its plan to buy the online video business of PPS, to rival industry leader Youku Tudou, which was created last year through the merger of the country’s two major video giants, Youku and Tudou.

The purchase is Baidu’s latest step to diversify beyond its core search sector.

The string of M&A deals has highlighted the heated competition among Internet giants to secure dominance of the mobile Internet market as an increasing number of Chinese are going online through mobile devices.

Currently, Tencent, which has so far attracted 300 million users to its popular voice messaging platform Wechat, is widely regarded as having secured a dominant seat in the mobile Internet market.

But Ma Huateng, Tencent’s chairman and CEO, took a cautious view about the company’s position.

“No matter how well-placed we are now in the mobile market, a slight oversight may cause a shipwreck,” he said at an Internet conference earlier this month.

According to data from the China Internet Networks Information Center, China had 420 million mobile Internet users as of the end of 2012.

With the market potential yet to be tapped, the Internet giants’ M&A activity will likely to go on for a while, according to Li.


4. Xiaomi to take Apple place

Xiaomi takes aim at Apple after big increase in sales [ChinaDaily via Xinhuanet, July 17, 2013]

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi Corp said on Tuesday it sold 7.03 million Xiaomi mobile phones in the first half of this year and realized unaudited revenue of 13.3 billion yuan (2.16 billion U.S. dollars) during the same period.

According to a news release sent to China Daily, Xiaomi disclosed that its half-year revenue in 2013 exceeded the company’s 12.6 billion yuan revenue from all of 2012 but it did not reveal the profitability ratio.

The company is on track to reach its annual goal of selling 15 million Xiaomi smartphones by the end of the year, according to officials from Xiaomi’s public relations department on Tuesday.

As of June, Xiaomi had more than 14 million smartphone users on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the news release said.

Lei Jun, founder and chief executive officer of Xiaomi, attributed the good performance to the company’s more influential branding, better industry partner support and an improved logistics and warehouse system.

Founded in 2010, Xiaomi has experienced rapid growth. The company launched its first smartphones in August 2011 and quickly gained market share, beating some traditional mobile phone giants.

“In the Chinese market, with the exception of Apple and Samsung, if the shipment of one smartphone model exceeds 1 million during its life cycle, it can be described as ‘quite successful’,” said James Yan, an analyst with the research firm IDC China.

Xiaomi has managed to sell every one of its smartphone models above the 1 million level and is easily ahead of companies such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp in terms of single smartphone shipments, Yan added, pointing out the latter firms have been selling mobile phones for about a decade.

Xiaomi is now directly challenging international giants Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc, which both keep single smartphone sales records in China. According to IDC, Apple had sold about 16 million iPhone 4 and 15 million iPhone 4S handsets in China as of March.

Xiaomi’s Lei sees Apple as a target to overtake in the future. During a previous interview with China Daily, Lei expressed Xiaomi’s ambition to ship more than 100 million smartphones annually worldwide for each model by 2016.

Apple, based in Cupertino in the United States, managed to break the 100 million iPhone devices mark in 2012, less than five years since the first iPhone was sold in 2007.

Lei dreams of achieving a similar, or even faster, pace of development.

“I know it is crazy, but we would like to have a try,” Lei said last year.

image

[in the Q1 2013, see below]

Overall, Xiaomi’s smartphone shipments in China, if they are not counted on the basis of single device shipments, are still small. The company even failed to become a top 10 smartphone supplier in China in the first quarter, according to the Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.

Samsung was the top smartphone company after acquiring a 17.3 percent share in the Chinese market in the first quarter, followed by Lenovo with 13.1 percent and Coolpad with 10.3 percent. The country had sales of 75.3 million smartphones, a year-on-year rise of 141.5 percent, in the first quarter ending on March 31.

Fewer Chinese consumers picking Apple’s iPhone [ChinaDaily via Xinhuanet, July 25, 2013]

image

Apple said on Tuesday that its revenue from China
fell 14 percent year-on-year to $4.6 billion in the
quarter ended June 29. Provided to China Daily

The devices are becoming so common in China these days that many people lost their once strong desire to own one. Also, iPhones are considered too expensive, and many consumers are opting for cheaper phones with similar capabilities.

And the Chinese market’s hesitation has showed in Apple’s latest quarterly financial report. Even though the California-based company delivered better-than-expected global iPhone shipments of 31.2 million units during the quarter ended June 29, its performance in Greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, was sluggish in the period.

Apple said on Tuesday that its revenue from China fell 14 percent year-on-year to $4.6 billion in the quarter ended June 29. The figure, which represents a 43 percent decline from the previous quarter, marked the first time that revenue decreased in the region.

Overall, Apple’s quarterly global revenue remained flat at $35.3 billion.

Apple said its growth in the Chinese market had slowed, particularly due to economic headwinds. China’s GDP growth eased to 7.6 percent in the first half, compared with 7.8 percent a year earlier.

Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook said that he wasn’t discouraged by the numbers from just one 90-day period.

“I continue to believe that in the arc of time here, China is a huge opportunity for Apple,” Cook said on an earnings call on Tuesday.

However, analysts believe that fiercer competition, together with other factors, played a much bigger role in Apple’s lackluster performance in China than the macro-economic effects.

“The iPhone 5 was less popular than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, in China during the first 100 days after they hit the market,” said James Yan, an analyst with research firm IDC. IPhone 5 handsets also saw stronger competition from brands such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and HTC Corp, as well as some local brands like Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Xiaomi Corp, Yan said.

Meanwhile, Chinese telecom operators have cut their subsidies for iPhone 5 devices.

“Consumers and industry partners adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward the iPhone 5,” Yan said. On the consumer side, they started to look for other high-quality smartphones with lower prices, or they are planning to buy the upcoming iPhone 5S or the iPhone 6, which seem to be more innovative products, he added.

Kevin Wang, an analyst with IHS iSuppli, said that Apple’s pricing strategy also discouraged some first-time smartphone buyers and low-end customers. A 16 GB iPhone 5 costs at least 5,000 yuan ($809.80), more than the average monthly salary of people working in Beijing.

“The situation will only change when Apple introduces a less-expensive version of the iPhone, then we’ll see a new sales surge in the country,” Wang said.

For instance, Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei, which in recent years expanded to the smartphone market, launched its P6 model in June, targeting high-end users but selling at a mere 2,688 yuan.

Huawei said on Wednesday that its first-half revenue was 113.8 billion yuan, up 10.8 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the Beijing-based Xiaomi is selling high-quality smartphones at extremely low prices, usually below 2,000 yuan. Xiaomi said it sold more than 7 million smartphones in the first half.

But Apple still has ways to protect its status as a major player in China, said Xiang Ligang, a telecom industry insider.

Xiang said that Apple will likely quicken the pace of its collaboration talks with China Mobile Ltd, the nation’s biggest telecom operator, to boost iPhone sales.

China Mobile and Apple have been in talks for years, but the two have yet to reach an agreement. Some industry sources said that the two companies will likely start cooperating soon, since all the preliminary work is done.


5. Strong central government support

IT push aims to boost domestic demand [ChinaDaily via Xinhuanet, July 14, 2013]

China is to promote consumption of IT-related products and services as it seeks to spur domestic demand and push economic upgrading.

It will speed up work to issue licenses for the fourth generation (4G) mobile network this year and accelerate development of broadband Internet access, according to a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The nation is aiming for annual average growth of 20 percent in the information consumption industry from 2013 to 2015, the statement said.

The meeting demanded implementation of the “Broadband China” strategy, stepped-up efforts to construct and upgrade network infrastructure, pushing forward the FTTH (Fiber To the Home) project and improving Internet speed.

China, which has the largest number of mobile phones in the world at 1.2 billion, is already building 4G trial networks in major cities.

Liu Lihua, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said last year that China aims to have more than 250 million broadband users by 2015.

The central government is also encouraging private capital to enter the basic telecom service market, such as the voice and messaging business, by setting up joint ventures with State-owned players.

Projects to merge telecommunications, television and Internet services will also move forward on a nationwide basis this year, according to Friday’s meeting.

The meeting also called for quicker development on energy saving, with the goal of ensuring the market share for efficient energy-saving products reaches 50 percent by 2015.

Private capital set to enter telecom industry [CCTVupdates YouTube channel, June 18, 2013]

China eyes energy-saving, IT industries to spur domestic demand [Xinhua, July 12, 2013]

China is to speed up development in the energy-saving industry and promote consumption of IT-related products and services as it looks to spur domestic demand and push economic upgrading.

Stimulating growth in the two sectors is a multi-purpose approach aimed at easing resource restraints, unleashing consumption potential, stimulating effective investments and fostering emerging industries, according to a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Friday.

Regarding IT-related consumption, including communication services and e-commerce, the State Council said China will press ahead with the construction of network and telecommunication infrastructure and strive to issue 4G licenses by the end of this year.

Efforts to boost consumption in the area also include widening Internet-based information services, piloting “smart city” schemes, boosting e-commerce, and increasing information securities.

Through these plans, China aims to achieve an annual growth of over 20 percent in IT-related consumption for the 2013-2015 period, the State Council said.

In the first five months of 2013, China consumed 1.38 trillion yuan (22.4 billion U.S. dollars) worth of IT-related products and services, up 19.8 percent year on year, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has showed.

Sub-anchor: China’s industrial structure optimized [CNETTV.cn via Xinhuanet, July 24, 2013]

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology held a press conference this morning — it’s about China’s industrial output in the first half of this year, and what’s being done to boost the IT industry.

Let’s chat to our reporter Guan Xin — who has been following the press conference.

Q2. IT industry is one of the strategic emerging industries, what initiatives can we expect?

A: The Ministry says IT will become a new engine to boost China’s consumption, with explosive growth of IT services and products. The spokesman shared some figures this morning….revenue from mobile internet traffic grew some 57% in the first half. The e-commerce market reached a whopping 5.4 trillion yuan, growing 38.5%, and sales of smart phones and smart TVs, are up more than 25%. The Ministry is now working on new measures to further boost IT consumption…including IT infrastructure building, expanding IT products supply, and improving public services. And these new measures will come out soon.


6. Country-wide 4G roll-out by year end 2013 after extensive trials

China’s telecom firms reveal 4G strategies [ChinaDaily.com.cn via Xinhuanet, June 27, 2013]

China’s three telecom operators have laid out their strategies on the development of fourth-generation, or 4G, mobile networks, as the official issuance of 4G licenses is expected to happen soon.

China Mobile Ltd – the world’s biggest telecom operator by subscribers – has always been an aggressive promoter of the domestic Time Division-Long Term Evolution, or TD-LTE, 4G technology.

Xi Guohua, its chairman, briefed the press on the company’s latest progress on TD-LTE network deployment at Shanghai’s Mobile Asia Expo on Wednesday.

Xi said that China Mobile has built more than 22,000 4G base stations in 15 Chinese cities, but that it plans to set up 200,000 base stations in 100 cities by the year-end.

However, the other two smaller Chinese telecom operators – China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd – have expressed their willingness to adopt the Frequency Division Duplex-Long Term Evolution, or FDD-LTE, technology, or at least to build a converged network under both standards.

TD-LTE and FDD-LTE are the two major 4G international standards, but the latter has gained more popularity across the globe and has stronger industry support.

Lu Yimin, general manager of China Unicom, said the company is conducting tests for 4G wireless networks with mixed technologies. It is the first time that China Unicom has admitted that it is actively preparing to launch 4G services.

However, Lu added that because the Chinese government has not yet awarded the 4G licenses, China Unicom’s final strategy is still “uncertain.” Lu also made the remarks at Shanghai’s Mobile Asia Expo.

Last weekend, Wang Xiaochu, China Telecom‘s chairman, confirmed that the company is stepping up efforts for its LTE network trials.

“It’s inevitable (for China Telecom) to adopt a converged network, since the spectrum is at the core of every carrier’s resources,” Wang said.

Even though Chinese authorities have not said exactly when they plan to issue the 4G licenses, industry experts expect the licenses to be awarded shortly.

He Shiyou, executive vice-president of ZTE, expressed an optimistic view on TD-LTE’s prospects in China.

“I think that all the three Chinese telecom carriers will get TD-LTE 4G licenses because the rich TD-LTE spectrum resources in China allow the government to do so,” he said.

Shang Bing, vice-minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said the development of the TD-LTE technology has entered a fast-track phase.

“The Chinese government will firmly support TD-LTE industry development, and help create a favorable policy and market environment,” he said on Wednesday.

The moves by the three Chinese carriers will help to further back the development of 4G technology globally, said Anne Bouverot, director-general of the GSM Association, an industry alliance of mobile operators and related companies.

“In general, what matters is not to have the absolutely best technology, but that everybody agrees to deploy it. That’s where you get the economy of scale, and get the equipment for networks and handsets to improve each time there is a new release,” she said.

Analysts have said that LTE 4G technology will usher in a society much more connected and convenient for people.

Jin Lee, senior managing director at Accenture’s mobility department in South Korea, said that LTE will provide speeds about 50 percent higher than current Wi-Fi networks.

“Once consumers get to taste that speed, they will never go back,” Lee said.

Related:
5,000 city users to put 4G services to the test
BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhuanet) — Long-awaited 4G services, which provide mobile users with Internet access 20 to 50 times faster than 3G network, make their debut in Shanghai next month when China Mobile begins large-scale trials, the carrier said yesterday.
The trial in the world’s biggest mobile phone market indicates that the country is ready to adopt the most advanced mobile technology for more than a billion handset users, and create a billion-dollar market for telecommunications equipment and handsets. Full story
4G market set to ignite hot competition
BEIJING, March 25 (Xinhuanet) — Foreign telecom companies are keen to join China’s fourth generation (4G) mobile network deployment with the country looking likely to issue the relevant licenses as early as this year.
Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei said the country is expected to award 4G licenses to domestic telecom operators by the end of 2013. Full story
China expected to issue 4G licenses this year: minister
BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) — China is expected to start licensing telecom operators to offer services on its fourth-generation (4G) mobile phone network within 2013, a senior official has said.
“China has made breakthroughs in R&D of 4G technologies, but is still facing restrictions in commercial use,” Miao Wei, minister of industry of information technology, said on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the country’s national legislature. Full story

China likely to issue 4G licenses by year end [CRIENGLISH.com via ChinaDaily, July 26, 2013]

Internet users in China are eagerly looking forward to ultra-fast 4G mobile Internet services.The anticipation has heated up following the government’s announcement that licenses tooperate such wireless system will be issued before the year’s end.

At a 4G service center of China Mobile in Henan’s Zhengzhou city, customers are trying out the new service with high expectations for faster speeds and easier access.

“I look forward very much to the availability of 4G service, which will be faster than the current3G network. But I’m not sure if it will be able to synchronize with televisions and other homeappliances.”

“I hope it will be launched soon. I really want to experience it as soon as possible.”

The fourth-generation wireless service is designed to deliver a speed four to ten times faster than today’s 3G system, the most widespread, high-speed wireless service at the moment.

China Mobile, China’s largest cell phone provider, is now promoting a homegrown 4G standard and hopes to start commercial rollout soon.

The core technologies are ready and the company has been ramping up installations of its base stations, which will be shared by both 3G and 4G networks.

Li Xiaobang is an engineer with China Mobile.

“We need to examine all the base stations currently used for 3G services, including the machine room and the roof, and carry out Long Term Evolution upgrade, either to F frequency band or to D frequency band, based on overall conditions of the base stations.”

According to Li, the company is hoping to finish the work as soon as possible so people can use the new service once the 4G license is issued.

The government says it will press ahead with building infrastructures and hopes to issue 4G licenses by the end of this year.

There are 1.2-billion mobile phones in China, more than any other country in the world.

New battle for 4G equipment market share [ChinaDaily, June 25, 2013]

China Mobile Ltd has officially launched its largest tender ever for the construction of its fourthgeneration (4G) network in China, igniting a new battle among telecom gear makers for marketshare.

On June 21, China Mobile, the world’s largest telecom operator by subscribers, posted an online tender saying it plans to purchase equipment for 207,000 4G base stations.

That purchase means the number of China Mobile’s 4G base stations is likely to catch up with that of its 3G base stations soon.

China Mobile is using the domestic Time Division-Long Term Evolution technology for its next-generation mobile network.

Unlike its 3G tenders, China Mobile said it will not accept agent bidders or those who make allcritical equipment on an original equipment manufacturing basis.

The Chinese telecom operator’s capital spending will jump 49 percent year-on-year to 190.2billion yuan ($30.5 billion) in 2013. More than half of the company’s network expenditure, or 42billion yuan, will go on 4G projects this year.

Foreign and domestic telecoms equipment vendors have shown strong interest in ChinaMobile’s 4G network deployment.

Yuan Xin, president of Alcatel-Lucent China, said he is very optimistic about achieving a satisfactory result in the third quarter, when China Mobile announces the final bidding results.

“TD-LTE business will be the core foundation for Alcatel Lucent’s future development,” Yuan said at a Shanghai news conference on Monday. China’s 4G industry is about to take off, since the market environment for LTE development has matured, he said. “Based on our solid technology and 4G experience in and out of China, we are confident of performing well,” headded.

Alcatel-Lucent had the largest share, or 14.5 percent, among foreign telecom gear makers during China Mobile’s first round of 4G tenders last year, according to research firm IHS iSuppli.

The company is the major telecom equipment supplier for Verizon Communications Inc’s 4G network, which covers about 200 million subscribers in the United States.

“We even dream of introducing TD-LTE technology to the US market, which follows the trendthat carriers worldwide want to make the best use of spectrum resources,” he said.

Because foreign telecom equipment vendors achieved less than a 30 percent market share in total during the first round bidding of China Mobile’s TD-LTE tender, they seemed more anxious to improve their positions by grabbing bigger shares this time.

“We are not satisfied with the results Ericsson achieved in China Mobile’s first-round 4G bidding last year,” said Mats H. Olsson, senior vice-president of Ericsson Asia-Pacific, duringthe 2013 Mobile World Congress held in Spain in February.

“In the past Ericsson paid a lot of attention to countries including the United States, Japan and South Korea and mainly focused on the deployment of FDD-LTE networks. Now we have turned our sights on China and TD-LTE technology,” Olsson said.

However, analysts argued that domestic rivals still hold advantages over foreign players. ChenPeng, analyst with China Merchants Securities Co Ltd, said he expected Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp to gain more than half of the share in China Mobile’s 4G bidding.

image

Guangxi to build wireless cities with 4G network [ChinaDaily Liuzhou Guangxi, June 25, 2013]

The Guangxi branch of China Mobile, which is the world’s biggest telecom carrier, said it will start construction of a fourth-generation network in 14 cities in the autonomous region in the second half of this year in a bid to build high-speed “wireless cities”.

Nanning, Liuzhou and Guilin are among the 14 cities, which will soon be covered in the 4G network in Guangxi. The 4G technology transmits data to wireless devices and has a theoretical speed as high as 100 Mbps.

It takes a 2G network 16 hours to download a 1 gigabyte movie, while it takes a 3G network two hours to download the same movie. The 4G network can complete the download within two minutes.

In addition, with the growing popularity of mobile phones, tablets and other wireless devices, 4G networks can effectively link people with each other and eventually build a convenient “wireless city”.

A woman surnamed Lin, who works in the media sector, said she is looking forward to the 4G networks in Guangxi. “We often need to carry a laptop on business trips in order to send stories back to our headquarters. With the 4G network, I will be able to do it with my mobile phone in the near future,” she said.

Though the 4G network is very high-end, the cost of using the network is even lower than 3G technology because 4G is a Chinese home grown technology.

China Mobile has spread its 4G network in 13 cities in China, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou, and it plans to include 100 cities into its 4G network by the end of 2013. With the completion of the project, China Mobile is expected to build the largest 4G network in the world, covering 500 million people.

4G network covers Pingtan [ChinaDaily Pingtan Fujian, May 21, 2013]

The city of Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province, launched a fourth generation, or 4G, wireless Internet service on May 17, which was also World Telecommunication Day.

The 4G network mainly covers the downtown area within Second Ring Road, the university zone, and the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, said the Strait News on Saturday.

Fuzhou became a pilot city for 4G trial network in September 2012. After eight months of construction, it has built 1,138 base stations and carried out several rounds of signal upgrading.

With the launch of the 4G network, residents in both Fuzhou and Pingtan will enjoy free high-speed Wi-Fi to play videos, surf the Internet, and start online video chats on their mobile phones.

Telecom giants tap Internet potential [ChinaDaily via Xinhuanet, May 18, 2013]

Chinese telecom operators have stepped up their efforts to boost their business through exploring online channels, since more people in the country prefer shopping on the Internet.

On World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which fell on Friday, Chinese mobile carriers launched different e-commerce campaigns to attract clients’ attentions.

China Mobile Ltd, the nation’s biggest mobile carrier with 726 million subscribers, said that Friday was its first “Online Shopping Day” and offered favorable prices for people topping up accounts, purchasing mobile phones, or registering a telecom service plan.

The operator, which suffered weak profit growth in the first quarter, said it has also developed an optional package, consisting of diversified telecom services, for customers to build up tailored telecom contracts.

Xing Hongtao, an official from China Mobile’s market operation department, said that the new service was a bit like “going to a cafeteria, looking at the menu and choosing your favorite dishes”.

Previously, the operators designed the service plans, but now it is up to customers to devise the contracts,” he said.

China Mobile is the first telecom operator in the nation to deliver this kind of service. The company started a pilot of the optional package in 13 provinces in the second half of last year, which more than 8 million customers have signed up to so far.

On Friday, China Mobile officially rolled out the service across the nation.

China Mobile’s sales from e-commerce channels have grown rapidly in recent years, according to the company.

By April, China Mobile had sold around 250,000 mobile phones per month on its website, an increase of 30 percent on the figure in January.

Ma Jingxin, deputy general manager of China Mobile Terminal Co, said in an earlier interview with China Daily that the company aims to sell up to 30 percent of its customized mobile phones through e-commerce channels by 2015.

China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd, the nation’s second-biggest telecom carrier, started building its e-commerce channels in 2007.

The average daily sales on China Unicom’s online platform now surpass 150 million yuan ($24.4 million) and its daily user base is more than 10 million, according to Zong Xinhua, general manger of China Unicom’s e-commerce department.

From May 17 to May 23, China Unicom plans to offer 10,000 smartphones at discounts to new telecom service subscribers.

The growing number of Internet users in China, combined with the public’s growing acceptance of e-commerce, is driving online sales of mobile phones.

“The most important reason for choosing a device online is because mobile phones are cheaper on the Web,” said Deng Kuibin, deputy general manager of SINO Market Research Co.


7. From operator branded to white-box superphones supporting all that

China Mobile launches own-brand smartphones [ChinaDaily via Xinhuanet, Aug 3, 2013]

China Mobile Ltd officially entered the booming mobile terminal market on Friday as it unveiled its own-brand smartphone models.

The China Mobile M701, a 5-inch screen Android-based smartphone equipped with MediaTek Inc’s 1.2-gigahertz quad-core processor, is priced at 1,299 yuan ($212). The China Mobile M601 is a 4-inch screen, dual-core Android smartphone that targets lower-end users with a price of 499 yuan.

The two smartphones are produced by original equipment manufacturers, Hisense Group and Shenzhen-based BYD Co Ltd, respectively. They will hit the Chinese market through China Mobile’s online and offline outlets this month.

Li Yue, chief executive officer of China Mobile, the world’s biggest telecom operator by subscribers, said the company has about 740 million customers.

Li said those customers usually change their mobile phones every 23 months, so at least 300 million new mobile devices are needed every year.

China’s mobile terminal industry has a very bright future,” Li said, during a Beijing news briefing on Friday.

Analysts pointed out some additional implications for China Mobile’s smartphone launch.

James Yan, an analyst with research firm IDC China, said China Mobile’s move aims to create a platform that seamlessly integrates its current mobile services, such as the instant messaging tool Fetion, and other mobile applications.

“Chinese mobile carriers hope to decrease the risks of being a ‘dumb pipe’ and to relieve the pressure from Internet companies’ challenges,” Yan said.

Lingxi, the Chinese version of Apple Inc’s Siri service, will be installed on the new China Mobile smartphones. A year ago, China Mobile struck a $214 million deal to acquire a 15 percent stake in Anhui USTC iFlytek Co Ltd, a Chinese company that develops software and apps related to voice input services.

“Lingxi is a highlight of China Mobile smartphones,” said Li Lin, a marketing manager with iFlytek. Compared with Siri, Lingxi is more localized and has partnered with third-party service providers such as Dianping.com and douban.com to offer helpful daily living information for customers, Li said.

“You can ask Lingxi to make a phone call, send a text message or find a nearby restaurant,” Li explained.

The other benefit for China Mobile in its launch of own-brand smartphones is that it helps the carrier to expand and strengthen coverage in county-level markets.

In tier five, tier six cities, which most mobile phone companies fail to reach, China Mobile can successfully sell smartphones through its powerful distribution channels,” Yan from IDC said. Those areas are usually remote from bustling cities and have less intense market competition, he said.

Kevin Wang, an analyst with the research firm IHS iSuppli, said China Mobile’s move will help reinforce its branding, but he said that he doubted the smartphone business will be a major revenue driver for the company.

Foreign telecom operators such as AT&T and Vodafone have offered own-brand products for many years, but the own-brand smartphone proportion they sell is still small,” Wang said.

China white-box vendor introduces ultra-thin smartphone [DIGITIMES, July 3, 2013]

China-based white-box smartphone vendor UMeox Mobile has joined the world’s ultra-thin smartphone market by introducing its UMeox X5, which has a thickness of only 5.6mm.

The Umeox X5 is equipped with a 5.3-inch touchscreen and is powered by a dual-core processor set on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 3-megapixel front camera.

The UMeox X5 comes less than a month after fellow company Huawei unveiled on June 18 its ultra-thin model, the Ascend P6, which the vendor claimed to be the world’s slimmest smartphone at 6.18mm during a launch event. The Ascend P6 has a 4.7-inch 1280 by 720 in-cell display and is powered by a HiSilicon 1.5GHz quad-core K3V2E processor.

In China, the ultra-thin segment was previously dominated by branded players including Huawei, ZTE and Oppo; the entry of white-box vendors will eventually heat up the competition in the sector, said industry watchers.


April 13, 2013 Report:

Digitimes Research: Smartphone sales to reach 329 million in China in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, March 18, 2013]

There will be 329 million smartphones sold in the China market in 2013, hiking 67.0% from 2012 due to large growth in the total number of 3G subscribers, while sales of feature phones will drop 39.9% to 146 million units, according to Digitimes Research.

The 2013 sales of smartphones will consist of 110 million TD-SCDMA models [88M till end of 2012 in total !!!], increasing 155.8% from 2012, 77 million WCDMA models [76.5M till end of 2012 in total !!!], up 45.3%, 67 million CDMA models [80M till end of 2012 in total !!!], up 59.5% and 75 million EDGE models, up 27.1%.

The average production cost of entry-level smartphones will decrease from US$35 in the fourth quarter of 2012, to US$31 in the first quarter of 2013, according to Digitimes Research.

Here is the monthly change trend for the current situation according to operators’ company data:

image

So 2013 indeed will be quite a different year, especially for the biggest by far operator China Mobile (having the world’s largest customer base which is 64% of the market in terms of the overall number of 1.11 billion Chinese subscribers there), with new 3G subscribers to be added greatly exceeding even the total number of 3G subscribers accumulated so far over the last 4 years (since February 2009, precisely):

China Mobile aims to sell 100-120 million TD-SCDMA handsets in 2013 [DIGITIMES, March 15, 2013]
China Mobile, the only TD-SCDMA mobile telecom carrier in China, aims to sell 100-120 million TD-SCDMA handsets in 2013, 80% of which will be smartphones, according to company president Li Yue.
China Mobile saw the total number of TD-SCDMA subscribers increase by 36.72 million in 2012 to 87.93 million at the end of the year, China-based sina.tech.com indicated. There were 242 models of TD-SCDMA handsets, including 138 smartphones, launched in the China market in 2012 and the total sales volume stood at 56 million units, of which more than 60% were smartphones, sina.tech.com pointed out.
China Mobile spent CNY23.8 billion (US$3.77 billion) to subsidize purchases of TD-SCDMA handsets bundled with contracts in 2012, and has set aside a budget of CNY27.0 billion for 2013, the company indicated.
image
source: 2012 Annual Results presentation [China Mobile, March 14, 2013]

So a dramatic change will be not only for 3G but for 4G/LTE as well:
China Mobile 2013 capex increases 49% on year [DIGITIMES, March 14, 2013]

China Mobile, one of the biggest telecom carriers in China, reported 2012 total revenues of CNY560.4 billion (US$90 billion, up 6.1% on year. Net profits were CNY129.3 billion, representing an on-year increase of 2.7%, said the firm. China Mobile reported that 2013 capex will reach CNY190.2 billion, an on-year growth of 49.29% compared to CNY127.4 billion in 2012.
In particular, the capex for 4G networks will be CNY41.7 billion in 2013. The capex is for investments regarding 200,000 TD-LTE base stations. However, currently, TD-LTE service coverage is only 35-40%, and according to company CEO Li Yue, if the firm pushes TD-LTE service coverage to 90%, another CNY40 billion needs to be invested. China Mobile currently has no schedule for this type of investment.
China Mobile currently has 710 million users with 87.93 million being 3G users, a relatively low 3G service penetration rate. According to China Mobile chairman Xi Guo-hua, the firm’s sales of handsets in 2013 will reach around 100-120 million units and 80% will be smartphones.
In addition, China Mobile has been seeing strong growth in the usage of mobile networking among users. According to the firm, 2012 usage increased 187.6% on year and revenues from mobile networking services increased 53.6% on year, accounting for 12.2% of total revenues.

China Mobile to build world’s largest 4G network [CCTV News via GoUTube123 YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2013]

China Mobile announced on Tuesday that it plans to deploy the world’s biggest 4G LTE network in China this year, covering more than a billion people. During a keynote speech at the Global TD-LTE Initiative summit in Barcelona, the vice-chairman of China Mobile said homegrown TD-LTE technology is gaining popularity across the world as the industry matures, and the company will build the world’s biggest 4G network this year.
image
source: 2012 Annual Results presentation [China Mobile, March 14, 2013] 
Note that GTI stands for the Global TD-LTE Initiative

China Mobile launched 100 cities 1 million terminals-covered 4G plan to create world’s largest 4G network [GTI News, March 8, 2013]

On February 26th, Mr. Xi Guohua, Chairman of China Mobile announced China Mobile’s new 4G plan at the Mobile World Congress 2013 (MWC) in Barcelona that China Mobile will build the world’s largest 4G network covering over 100 cities in China and purchase more than 1 million 4G terminals by this year.
Since GTI announced the GTI Plan & Actions that was initiated to construct over 500,000 TD-LTE base stations in 2014 covering over 2 billion population, global commercialization of TD-LTE has seen a great leap forward. At present, TD-LTE has set up a complete end-to-end industry chain involving widespread participation of global industries and highly mature products. Significant progress has also made in terms of chips. In addition, the scale of TD-LTE commercial networks and user base has been enlarged to a large extent. The capability of LTE global roaming has also been proven.
Mr. Xi Guohua expressed in his opening address, “TD-LTE technology and industry have been mature enough for large-scale development. China Mobile will scale up the construction of trial network to create the largest LTE network in the world. Besides, China Mobile will purchase more than one million units of TD-LTE terminals, with a hope to promote TD-LTE multi-mode multi-band terminal to reach 3G standard as soon as possible and lay a good foundation for its complete commercialization.
It was reported that China Mobile, as a leader and main driving force for the global deployment of TD-LTE, has built pilot TD-LTE networks in 15 cities across China, among which the networks in Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Guangzhou have achieved full coverage in main districts. China Mobile also launched diversified TD-LTE trial commercial services, receiving high praise from consumers. According to this latest released program, China Mobile’s TD-LTE network will cover all the prefecture-level cities and above with over 200,000 base stations covering more than 500 million population, which will be the largest 4G network in the world.
Dynamic development in the field of TD-LTE terminals has also been seen. At the summit, China Mobile and its industry partners, including Huaiwei, ZTE, Samsung, HTC and LG, jointly launched 5 models of TD-LTE multi-mode multi-band smart phones. Remarkably, China Mobile also released 3 eye-catching independently branded MiFi [wireless router that acts as a mobile WiFi hotspot, the abbreviation stands for “My Wi-Fi”] products. With the joint efforts by global chip vendors, the technologies for TD-LTE multi-mode multi-band smart phones are getting mature increasingly. It is estimated that booming development of TD-LTE terminals will be realized in a diversified, large-scale manner in the coming two years. Beside high-end mobile phones, middle and low end mobile phones will enter into the market. This will provide consumers with enriched choices while allowing seamless global roaming.
In pace with further promotion in the fields of commercial network deployment, multi-mode multi-band terminals, global roaming test and commercialization as well as the application of automotive consumer electronics, 2013 will be a key year for the global deployment and large-scale development of TD-LTE.

China Mobile to procure TD-LTE devices from Huawei, ZTE, Samsung [DIGITIMES, March 19, 2013]

China Mobile, the only TD-SCDMA mobile telecom carrier in China, will procure TD-LTE terminal devices from Huawei Technologies, ZTE, and Samsung Electronics, and will offer two own-brand Mi-Fi models, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

China Mobile will procure Huawei Mi-Fi model E5375, ZTE Mi-Fi model MF91S and offer own-brand CM510 and CM512. It will procure Huawei’s Ascend D2-TL smartphone, Samsung’s Galaxy I9308D smartphone and ZTE’s network interface card MF820T. These devices support TD-LTE, FDD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and GSM standards and 10 frequency bands.

CM512 will be produced by Tech-Full (Changshu) Computer, a China-based subsidiary of Quanta Computer.

China Mobile has launched a 4G network trial in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, with signal coverage over 30% of the population. This marks a further step in the network being fully operational. “4G, Life-Changing Experience.” The importance of the new data network to China Mobile has two meanings. First, it is the only 4G network in China, giving China Mobile an obvious lead over the other two telecom giants. Second, the 4G network, TD LTE, designed and developed by China, strengthens the country’s place in the field of information technology. Sun Lian, planning & development manager of China Mobile Guangdong, said:”The 4G network developed by China can have an impact beyond the whole telecom industry. It brings opportunities for electronics and mircro-chip companies, online service and content providers. It could change our entire experience of the information service.” But it is never easy to tap into new markets. China launched its own 3G network, the TD SCDMA in 2009, but even standing on the shoulder of this telecom giant, its development was anything but smooth sailing. It is incompatible with other 3G networks in the world, and users cannot choose carriers outside China Mobile. This time, the telecom giant has vowed not to make the same mistake. Yang Wenbin, engineer of China Mobile R&D Center, said:”There are currently two kinds of 4G network, the TD LTE network in China, and the FDD LTE network already adopted by some countries. Many of the communication protocols they use is the same, therefore it is easier to achieve compatibility on software level, without making tweaks on the hardware.” The 4th Generation network is marked by its high speed. On the launch of the trial, the top download speed could reach around 80 megabytes per second. The speed of the 4G network is amazing, it can download several gigabytes of contents in just a few minutes. But unless you have an unlimited download plan, this could also mean a very heavy telephone bill. For those not using the monthly package, the current price for 3G usage is 1 yuan per megabyte. This means downloading a movie will cost over 500 yuan on average, or about $80 US dollars. So knowing what kind of package comes with the 4G network is key for customers. A customer in Guangzhou said:”Of course I look forward to a faster network, but I hope it won’t be too expensive.” A customer in Guangzhou said:”On my current data plan, the cost of the 3G network is acceptable. I hope the 4G network won’t be more expensive than the 3G network.” A retail store manager of China Mobile Guangdong said:”We are now offering more data plans and discount packages to meet the growing demand. And along with the 4G network, we will also have many discounts to encourage users to switch to faster services.”

China Mobile: 4G licensing expected by year-end [China Daily, March 13, 2013]

The chairman of China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier by subscriber base, says the rollout of4G technology in the country is just around corner. Speaking on the sidelines of the on-going two sessions, Xi Guohua, a CPPCC member, also said that the carrier is extending a trial of 4G networks
<embedded video worth to watch>
According to China Mobile, the fourth generation technology offers 10 times bigger bandwidthand 10 times transmission speed than its 3G predecessor. The operator plans to build more than 200,000 4G base stations. The network, when completed, will be the largest of its kind worldwide, and will cover a population of more than 500 million.
Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile, said, “We will further expand the current trial on a large scale network. We plan to build 4G base stations in 100 cities, and purchase 1 million terminals.”
Xi also expects the government to issue its fourth generation license before the end of thisyear.
Xi said, “The timing of licensing should be in line with technological development. I think it is appropriate to do that by the end of this year.”
China Mobile started its large-scale 4G trial last year. Industry insiders say if commercialized, the new technology will give a major boost to every part of China’s telecommunications industry.

China to lead mobile payment technology [NFC] [CCTV News via GoUTube123 YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2013]

Smartphones may soon replace cash and credit cards. Constantino de Miguel reports from the Mobile World Congress, China is poised to be the leader in this technology. Just like motorists who pay tolls electronically, consumers the world over may soon be paying on-the-go at any shop, using smartphones or tablets. Mobile devices will be our wallets thanks to a technology called “near field communications”, or NFC. China is expected to lead mobile payments since it already has the largest network of credit cards.

Commercializing 4G in China needs 1 yr: minister [China Daily, March 15, 2013]

With the third-generation communication network flourishing in China, consumers are eager to know when they will be able to start using the next generation’s network, 4G. On the sidelines of the NPC sessions, the Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Miao Wei,said that the large-scale commercialization of 4G is currently in a testing phase, but that the network coverage still has a long way to go.
<embedded video worth to watch>
Miao Wei, Minister of China Ministry of Industry & IT, said, “Some factors are blocking the 4G development. First is the network. At the moment, even the 3G network is not fully received in many places across China, as it always drops to 2G due to poor network coverage. We have to speed up the installation of coverage technology so as to realize the smooth switching between 3G and 4G. Licenses will still be given to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. 4G will first be commercialized in six pilot cities as the network coverage will be available there. But it needs at least one year to commercialize it across the country.”

FRANCE 24 Report : Chinese smartphone brands take bite out of APPLE [france24english YouTube channel, Feb 18, 2013]

Global technology heavyweights are eager to make inroads into China, the world’s biggest smartphone market. Yet local brands like Xiaomi, Lenovo, Coolpad, Huawei are putting up stiff resistance, selling phones for around half the price of their larger competitors. They’ve even beaten the iPhone into fourth place in rankings of Chinese smartphone sales… and now they’re setting their sights on foreign customers too.

Rise of Chinese smartphones [CNNInternational YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]

Fortune magazine writer Michal Lev-Ram examines the rise of Chinese smartphones.

Mike Walsh on Global Innovation [cmispeakers YouTube channel, Feb 5, 2013]

86% of the worldwide web comes from global markets…only 14% from the US…learn about China’s ‘Shanzhai’ innovation on cloned phone technology.

China Smartphone Sector [Asia Pacific/China Equity Research, Credit Suisse, Jan 7, 2013]

A specific growth opportunity within China
The Chinese market is a critical market for the local branded Chinese smartphone brands, whitebox and chipset suppliers into that channel. Overall market growth is poised to continue, driven by a significant step-up in subsidies of sub-Rmb1,000 smartphones from Chinese brands and much better low-cost handset availability and quality.
The market is also a key market not dominated by the traditional Tier 1 brands, with feature phones traditionally 60% served by whitebox and local brands. The initial ramp of smartphones was dominated by the traditional global Tier 1s at 70% share in 2011. In 2012, however, this market made a marked turn and is now only 36% supplied by Tier 1s, 35% by the Top 4 Chinese brands (Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad), and 29% by the whitebox and Tier 2 Chinese brands. The key shift was substantial lowering of entry barriers due to higher quality chipset reference designs, better availability of components (panels, touch, image sensors, low cost mobile DRAM) and a stable Android platform.
The availability of these smartphones has already prompted a substantial rise in smartphone penetration of device purchases, from 17% of units in 2011 (78 mn smartphones out of 458 mn handset sales) to 38% of units in 2012 (197 mn of 512 mn handset sales). By 2015, we model in our global forecast 421 mn of 570 mn handset sales (74% of device units). The export channel has taken off a bit slower, with penetration in emerging markets increasing YoY from 16% to 23% in 2012 and projected to reach 54% in 2015 (619 mn of 1.13 bn devices), a potential area of further upside.
Based on rising affordability and quality continuing to improve, we expect the Chinese smartphone market to grow from 197mn units in 2012 to 421mn in 2015, with 30% from tier one’s, 33% from the top Chinese brands and 37% from other brands.
We note that the whitebox and other brands can expand as Tier 2 brands (Hisense, BBK, Oppo, Gionee, Tianyu/K-Touch, TCL, Xiaomi) become household names in China and emerging markets and the quality of clone Galaxy and iPhones improve with better touch, quad core and sweeter flavours of Android versions.

Chinese Smartphones [FinancialTimesVideos YouTube channel, April 5, 2012]

http://www.FT.com/ The popularity of smartphones is causing a fundamental shift in the handset market in China. The FT’s Kathrin Hille visits Shenzhen in southern China to discover where the mobile phone industry is heading.

Chinese smartphones going big [CCTV News via the GoUTube123 YouTube channel, July 11, 2012]

Last year 488 million smart phones were sold worldwide. That’s nearly two thirds more than 2010. The smart phone industry has quickly become so hot that many investors feel that they must get in on the action, and in China they’re doing it fast.

Handset Industry 2013 Outlook [Asia Pacific/China Equity Research, Credit Suisse, Jan 7, 2013]

Increased push towards lower end smartphones. One of the common themes emerging out of all three carriers in China is the increased push toward bringing down smartphone price points. During 2011, the focus had been on launching smartphones priced at around Rmb1,000 with a number of product introductions in that price range. For 2012, the target seems to be to further price point reductions.
  • China Mobile noted that out of 166 smartphone models it offered during mid-2012, 126 of them are being sold at a price point of around Rmb1,000 (or US$150), with the company already working towards launching smartphones priced at Rmb500.

  • China Unicom highlighted that after having successfully launched a series of Rmb1,000 smartphones in 2011, it has been working on to introduce smartphones priced at Rmb700 (US$ 100) or below during 2012.
  • China Telecom had an offering of around 240 models for smartphones in mid-2012, compared to only 100/200 models at the end of 2010/2011. Further, the carrier sold 16mn smartphone devices in 1H12 compared to 17mn in 2011 (up 2x yoy).

And the Chinese industry and supply chain positions are even better in the tablet ecosystem space as well described in my spinoff blog:

SED Electronics Market (Tablets Market) in Shenzhen walk-through [Charbax YouTube channel, March 17, 2013]

Here’s my latest steadicam/GH3 walk through the SED Electronics Market in Shenzhen, that building is my favorite in the Shenzhen Huaqiangbei Electronics market area. This is where you can find all the tablets, HDMI sticks and tablet accessories.

Allwinner A31 9.7″ Retina factory tour at Celeb Tech [Charbax YouTube channel, March 17, 2013]

Here is a tour of the Celeb Tech factory in Shenzhen China. This is their touchpanel [TP] assembly line, they also have a more general tablet assembly factory in another part of Shenzhen (Dongguan) which I may go to and film at the next time I visit Shenzhen. They are in full swing producing the pretty awesome 9.7″ Retina Allwinner A31 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 tablet that sells at some pretty amazing prices on the Chinese market.

 


More information

This getting even more interesting as the quite dramatic by itself introductory information is only one of the reasons (more will follow below) why we can say that China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web … even if such a power of influence is too new for the country to be able to exercise that to a greater degree (yet): China Knocks Off U.S. to Become World’s Top Smart Device Market [Peter Farago on the Flurry blog, Feb 18, 2013]

SmartDevice InstalledBase China vs US Feb2013 resized 600

Nevertheless the collection given below in the ‘Background’ section is showing that potential. Just look at the major headlines in that section:

China becomes world’s top smartphone producer China’s e-commerce revenue hits over 1 trillion yuan in 2012: minister China’s top microblog site boasts 500 mln users
China expected to issue 4G licenses this year: minister Preparing for a 4G network across China ZTE leads in 4G wireless networks
EU telecom demands raise tensions with China China has till June for solar, telecoms trade deal: EU China’s mobile phone users reach 1.11 bln
China market: Samsung takes up 22.5% of 2012 smartphone sales, says iiMedia Research Smart phones cover 70 pct of mobile market: report Android powers a third of all mobile phones shipped in 4Q12, says Canalys
Google controls too much of China’s smartphone sector: ministry Too late for China to develop own mobile operating systems, say Taiwan makers China handset makers hope to reduce reliance on Android
China to modify plan to open up mobile telecom sector 4M[bps] broadband to cover 70 percent of Chinese users in 2013 Broadband network expansion in the pipeline
China Unicom’s 3G
[W-CDMA] subscribers hit 76.46 mln
   

For the mobile Internet world, and consequently for the next-gen HTML5 web there is still a huge untapped potential in China, especially for the far the biggest network operator, China Mobile:

image

China Mobile’s untapped potential in the 3G space is even greater than that of other two operators as from Q4’11 to Q2’12 it was operating at much lower quarterly growth rate of 3G penetration than its bigest domestic rival, China Unicom (see the chart in the middle). In fact during the last 2 years both China Unicom (W-CDMA) and China Telecom (CDMA) had a consistently faster growth of 3G subscribers than China Mobile (TD-SCDMA) as well illustrated by the first chart on the top. In fact the resulting 3G penetration rates by the end of the period (Q4’12) speak for themselves:
– China Mobile (TD-SCDMA): 12.4% (vs. 3.5% in Q4’10)
– China Unicom (W-CDMA): 32% (vs. 8.4% in Q4’10)
– China Telecom (CDMA): 43% (vs. 13.6% in Q4’10)

The major reason for China Mobile’s significant underperformance between 2010 and 2012 is related to all the difficulties related to the stubborn attempt to deliver a completely homegrown solution in the 3G space, 100% of China’s own, end-to-end: TD-SCDMA, SoCs, operating system, services etc.

  1. TD-SCDMA defined and developed totally independent of the Qualcomm driven CDMA  and the Europe driven W-CDMA (including HSPA) which both had broad involvement of all kind of interested parties, especially the final 3G+ winner W-CDMA (including HSPA). This is well expressed by the following technology adoption chart (which includes forecast for the recently launched 4G LTE as well):

    From: Report: LTE Connections To Hit 90 Million By Year’s End, 1 Billion By 2017 [TechCrunch, May 17, 2012], i.e. LTE was in its 3d year in 2012
  2. China Mobile, as a SOE (State Owned Company, see SOEs and state coexistence in China [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 19, 2011]) with only 25.82% of shares not in the state hands as of 31 December 2011, got full support of the state via different financial means and other TD-SCDMA related companies of the state as well. See China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HSPA level] is to create momentum for that [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 18, 2011]. China Mobile awards 12 companies TD-SCDMA research grants [May 17, 2009] and  China Mobile Reveals TD-SCDMA Handset Subsidy Bidding Results [May 17, 2009] there are particulary revealing such efforts in the very beginning.

    There was no lack of resources for everything, despite of doing it all alone, nevertheless it took no less than 3 years from the TD-SCDMA launch to have a workable plan which resulted just in the end of the fourth year in the significantly improved results of greater quarterly TD-SCDMA penetration growth of 14.4% in Q4’12 Q vs. 13.2% in Q1’12, 10% in Q2’12 and 10.2% in Q3’12. The plan was TD-SCDMA: US$3B into the network (by the end of 2012) and 6 million phones procured (just in October) [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 18, 2011] and the Q4’12 result is quite visible in the penetration growth rate jump (copied here as well for convenience):

    image

  3. It was clearly identified from the very beginning that SoCs would be needed from several sources. China Mobile was getting that quite early from local  chip design houses Spreadtrum and Leadcore as well as from ST-Ericsson, MediaTek and Marvell coming from outside (see Marvell beaten by Chinese chipmakers in sub 1,000 yuan handset procurement tender of China Mobile [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 15, 2010] and Marvell’s single chip TD-SCDMA solutions beaten (again) by two-chip solutions of Chinese vendors [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 11, 2011]). Despite of Marvell’s very strong and early 2008 commitment to capitalise on the TD-SCDMA opportunity only, even strengthening that with Kinoma is now the marvellous software owned by Marvell [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 8, 2011] and ASUS, China Mobile and Marvell join hands in the OPhone ecosystem effort for “Blue Ocean” dominance [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 8, 2011], it was much more later that there were First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 21, 2011].

    Then, in fact, rather its long-time local competitor gained the upper hand with World’s lowest cost, US$40-50 Android smartphones — sub-$100 retail — are enabled by Spreadtrum [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 11, 2011] which was already at the time of  China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 1, 2011] and The new, high-volume market in China is ready to define the 2012 smartphone war [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 6, 2012]. In the end not Marvell but Spreadtrum exploited best the tremendous volume opportunities when it was possible to state that Lowest H2’12 device cost SoCs from Spreadtrum will redefine the entry level smartphone and feature phone markets [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 26 – Nov 9, 2012] as the 2.5G only $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on November 15 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 9, 2012] arrived. And the increase in the number of TD-SCDMA subscribers was still not that much more: 12.3 million in Q4’12 vs. 8.5 million in Q3’12.

    So Spreadtrum’s H2’12 success came much more from its extremely low-cost with 2.5G+WiFi (SC6820) capability than from the one which included as well  the TD-SCDMA capability. This also means that for our final word about the maturity of the TD-SCDMA technology stack from the network basestations through the TD-SCDMA SoCs we will able to say just in 2013, after similar kind, or even higher, increases in the number of TD-SCDMA subscriber additions would indeed be reported by China Mobile. The findings of the market research panels published just last week are well supporting this reasoning (see the full press release much more below of the excerpts included here):

    Wi-Fi is the Data Beast of Burden among Smartphone Panelists [Arbitron press release via PRNewswire, March 4, 2013]

    … Even as carriers aggressively promote their newest generation of cellular data networking, the Arbitron smartphone panelists in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and China, still consume nearly two thirds of their mobile data through public and private Wi-Fi networks. …

    … China and France have the lightest users of mobile data … However, their respective share of Wi-Fi networks as a data source stands at a polar opposite. China panelists consume the largest share—70 percent—on Wi-Fi networks. French panelists, consume the smallest share—53 percent—of mobile data on Wi-Fi. …

    This means that the Chinese were well satisfied with their less costly 2.5G mobile connections for less data consuming tasks, while for most consuming ones the great majority of them were relying on the Wi-Fi networks available to them in the various hotspots and at home (probably at the workplace as well). Considering that along with the 4G/LTE there is the upcoming 5G WiFi with Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ ac Miracast™ from Broadcom for streaming content to UHD (4K) TVs as well [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 3, 2013] this situation will not change in the future either, definitely not in the much more cost-concious Chinese market (see: China: going either for good quality commodities or the premium brands only [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 21, 2012]).

  4.  Wi-Fi is the Data Beast of Burden among Smartphone Panelists [Arbitron press release via PRNewswire, March 4, 2013]
How much mobile data Arbitron smartphone panelists consume varies by country and mobile platform
Wi-Fi® remains the leading data network for on-the-go data consumption in the five leading Arbitron Mobile-based smartphone panels.
Even as carriers aggressively promote their newest generation of cellular data networking, the Arbitron smartphone panelists in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and China, still consume nearly two thirds of their mobile data through public and private Wi-Fi networks.
Wi-Fi Data Consumption by Arbitron Mobile-based Smartphone Panelists
Sorted by average mobile data consumption per month (cellular +Wi-Fi)
 
% via
Wi-Fi
Cell + Wi-Fi Data
MB/User/Month
% of panelists
> 1,000 MB/month
U.S.
61%
1,496
49%
U.K.
69%
1,181
37%
Germany
63%
861
37%
France
53%
730
24%
China*
70%
719
25%
Source: Arbitron Mobile Index: Executive Summary Reports, 4th quarter 2012
* Operated by iResearch using Arbitron Mobile technology

The United States and United Kingdom have the heaviest users of mobile data in their Arbitron smartphone panels. A substantial share of the data consumption—61 and 69 percent respectively—relies on Wi-Fi networks.
China and France have the lightest users of mobile data in their Arbitron Mobile-based smartphone panels, both in terms of the average monthly data consumed and the share of the panel who consume more the 1,000 MB a month. However, their respective share of Wi-Fi networks as a data source stands at a polar opposite.
China panelists consume the largest share—70 percent—on Wi-Fi networks.  French panelists, consume the smallest share—53 percent—of mobile data on Wi-Fi.
In all five of the Arbitron Mobile panels, Apple iOS users are heaviest consumers of mobile data and are the heaviest users of Wi-Fi for their on-the-go data needs.
Data Consumption by Leading Mobile Operating Systems
Sorted by average mobile data consumption per month (cellular +Wi-Fi) on iOS
Apple iOS
Android
 
MB/User
/Month
% via
Wi-Fi
MB/User
/Month
% via
Wi-Fi
U.S.
2,512
66%
821
57%
U.K.
2,216
80%
740
64%
China*
1,636
81%
347
65%
France
1,527
70%
635
52%
Germany
1,203
71%
566
56%
Source: Arbitron Mobile Index — Executive Summary Reports, 4th quarter 2012
* Operated by iResearch using Arbitron Mobile technology

Apple iOS was the predominant operating system among the heavy data users in these five smartphone panels.  Seventy-two percent of iOS users in the U.S. and German panel were in 1,000+ MB/month club; in the U.K., 76 percent, and in China 60 percent. In stark contrast, only 29 percent of the iOS users in the France panel consumed more than 1,000 MB/month in the fourth quarter 2012.
About iResearch Consulting
iResearch Consulting, founded 2002, is the leading consulting and media measurement company in the Internet industry in China. With more than 200 employees, iResearch, headquartered in Shanghai, has been at the forefront of Chinese Internet measurement and operates a currency Internet audience rating service for China.
About Arbitron Mobile
Arbitron Mobile Oy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arbitron Inc., uses a proprietary, on-device software meter to provide marketers, the media, content providers, app developers, and wireless access suppliers with information on how mobile consumers use apps, surf the web, engage in social media, participate in e-commerce, and employ their devices to communicate.
For more information, visit www.arbitronmobile.com or contact mobile@arbitron.com.
About Arbitron
Arbitron Inc. (NYSE: ARB) is an international media and marketing research firm serving the media—radio, television, cable and out-of-home; the mobile industry as well as advertising agencies and advertisers around the world.  For more information, visit www.arbitron.com.
Wi-Fi® is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Background

China becomes world’s top smartphone producer [Xinhua, Jan 16, 2013]

Chinese shipments of smartphones totaled 224 million units in 2012, making the country the world’s largest smartphone producer, official data showed Wednesday.
In 2012, over 730,000 Chinese apps were launched on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad platforms, and the number of apps in China Mobile’s online Mobile Market approached 150,000, according to a statement from the China Academy of Telecommunication Research under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Beijing-based research firm Analysys International predicted that China’s mobile Internet market will reach 429.6 billion yuan (68.19 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015.
China added 50.9 million Internet users in 2012, bringing the total to 564 million at the end of last year, according to data released Tuesday by the China Internet Network Information Center.
The number of mobile Internet users increased 18.1 percent to 420 million, with mobile phones becoming the primary channel for using the Internet in China.

More information:
Huawei challenges Apple, Samsung with world’s biggest smartphone [Xinhua, Jan 7, 2013]
Lenovo seeks top smartphone spot [in China] [China Daily via Xinhuanet, Jan 5, 2013]

China’s ZTE unveils latest Android smartphone in Indonesia [Xinhua, Dec 19, 2012]
Smartphones give family ties the busy signal [Xinhua, Oct 18, 2012]
Smartphones in use top 1 bln worldwide: report [Xinhua, Oct 17, 2012]

The number of smartphones in use in the world has risen to over 1 billion, 16 years after they were first put into market, report from Strategy Analytics showed on Wednesday.
According to the third quarter figures released by the research firm, the number of smartphones in use increased by around 330 million from the third quarter of 2011 and by 79 million from the second quarter of this year.
Executive Director at Strategics Analytics Neil Mawston said one in seven people in the world now has a smartphone.
Mawston pointed out that there will be more smartphone penetration in the future because of the “huge scope for future growth, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India and Africa.”
It is calculated that although 16 years were needed for the first billion smartphones to come into use, it will need just three years for that number to double to 2 billion.

China’s e-commerce revenue hits over 1 trillion yuan in 2012: minister [Xinhua, March 8, 2013]

China’s booming online commerce industry is expected to reap more than 1.1 trillion yuan (about 175 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue in 2012, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said on Friday.
“The total revenue of online commerce is estimated to be around 1.1 trillion yuan (about 175 billion U.S. dollars) to 1.2 trillion in 2012,” said Chen, noting that the exact figure was not available.
China’s online commerce has experienced rapid growth in recent years, with its total revenue expanding from 25.8 billion yuan in 2006 to 780 billion in 2011, the commerce minister told a press conference held on the sidelines of the ongoing national legislature.
“Online shopping is changing people’s way of life and consumption, taking advantage of the huge potential of China’s industrialization and urbanization,” Chen said.
The commerce minister said the growth dwarfed that of many western countries, attributing to the fact that China’s commerce industry was not as developed in the first place, and online shopping could serve to reduce the cost of logistics by a huge margin.

More information:
Chinese booming e-commerce nibbles traditional retailers [Xinhuanet, Feb 18, 2013] with internal headlines: online business booms + traditional retail industry threatened
Conference updated on China’s regulation of e-commerce [Xinhua, Nov 27, 2012]
Securing China’s e-commerce growth [Jeff Liao, country manager of Visa China on Xinhuanet, Nov 20, 2012]

Between June 2011 and 2012, China’s Internet population reached 538 million, of which some 194 million had shopped online. Online retail sales in China have soared in recent years and are expected to hit 360 billion U.S. dollars by 2015 – up from about 121 billion dollars in 2011 – according to The Boston Consulting Group.
Impressive as the numbers are, there’s another set of statistics that’s even more striking: Nearly one-third of the online shoppers in China fell prey to fraudulent websites during that period, costing them 4.7 billion dollars, according to the China Electronic Commerce Association.
<quite worth to read after that>

China’s top microblog site boasts 500 mln users [Xinhua, Feb 20, 2013]

Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, had attracted over 500 million users by the end of 2012, a year-on-year increase of 74 percent, Sina Corp. announced on Wednesday.
Sina Weibo’s active daily users have exceeded 46.2 million, the company said.
The site’s revenues totaled 66 million U.S. dollars in 2012, of which 23 percent came from surging income from value-added services.
The other 77 percent came from advertising, the revenues of which exceeded 50 million U.S. dollars.
The company plans to further improve its user experience and expand its services while veering its focus to mobile Internet, said Cao Guowei, CEO and president of Sina.
Some 75 percent of Sina Weibo’s active users log in using mobile devices.
Sina also issued financial reports for the last quarter and full fiscal year of 2012 on Wednesday, showing that its net revenues hit 529.3 million U.S. dollars with a year-on-year increase of 10 percent.

Web China: Xi Jinping fan microblog triggers curiosity [Xinhua, Feb 6, 2013]

… a personal microblog on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, which has released exclusive photos and other news regarding China’s top leader Xi Jinping, has raised eyebrows with its candid coverage.
Netizens have become increasingly curious about the blog, titled “Xuexifensituan” (“Learning From Xi Fan Club”), which covers the latest moves made by Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, during his inspection tours.
Entries on the blog are often written in the style of a tabloid, with brief phrases (“he’s returned to the hotel”) describing Xi’s whereabouts. However, the posts are exclusive and always come ahead of reports from official media.
Sometimes there are rare first-hand pictures — distant shots of Xi dozing in a van or photos taken by a shaky camera while Xi walks through a crowd of people.
The microblogger refers to Xi as “Xi Dada,” a term that translates as “Uncle Xi” in some parts of China. “Pingping,” a dual-syllable nickname often used by intimate friends or relatives, is also used to describe China’s top leader.
The blog has attracted nearly 500,000 followers since going online in November 2012. Although the information contained in the blog has interested the public, netizens are also curious about the real identity of the blog’s owner.
The blog does not feature a “V” emblem, a mark which indicates that the blog owner’s identity has been verified by Sina Weibo. The only clues are profile details stating that the blog’s owner is a female from northwest China’s Shaanxi province.
The mysterious blog is suspected to be maintained by someone very close to Xi, as the information it contains is supposed to be unavailable to the public and some of its photos were shot from vantages close to Xi.
The blog’s owner has denied claims that he or she is close to Xi. “I am just an ordinary office worker, not a CPC member, nor an official,” an entry on the blog said.


China
expected to issue 4G licenses this year: minister
[Xinhua, March 6, 2013]

China is expected to start licensing telecom operators to offer services on its fourth-generation (4G) mobile phone network within 2013, a senior official has said.
“China has made breakthroughs in R&D of 4G technologies, but is still facing restrictions in commercial use,” Miao Wei, minister of industry of information technology, said on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the country’s national legislature.
China needs to speed up base station construction and provide more terminal products, which require greater financial and technological input, he said on Tuesday.
“We will promulgate supporting policies at an appropriate time to guide the construction and development of the 4G network,” Miao added.
In early February, two cities in east China’s Zhejiang Province launched a 4G mobile phone network for commercial use on a trial basis, marking a new age of high-speed mobile Internet in the country.
With a 500-yuan (80 U.S. dollars) deposit, subscribers to China Mobile in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, and Wenzhou, can access the service.
China Mobile, China’s largest mobile operator, employs TD-LTE technology, or Time Division Long Term Evolution, one of two international standards, for the 4G network. Its maximum Internet speed is up to 10 times faster than 3G.
4G user should be able to download a 10-megabyte piece of software in two seconds, and a two-gigabyte HD movie in just several minutes.
With the advancement of 4G technology, 4G wireless cards and 4G mobile phones are expected to be ready for commercial use this year.
China Mobile began building a trial 4G network in several Chinese cities, including Hangzhou, in 2011. The city is currently home to over 2,400 4G base stations, covering an area of around 500 square km.
The minister also reiterated that China will further encourage private investment in the telecom industry.

More information:
China Mobile expands 4G trials to Zhejiang [China Daily via Xinhuanet, Feb 6, 2013]
East China cities launch commercial 4G network [Xinhua, Feb 4, 2013]
Preparing for a 4G network across China [China Daily via Xinhuanet, Nov 19, 2012]

… The ministry officially defined the TD-LTE spectrum – 2,500-2,690 MHz – in China in October, paving the way for future TD-LTE network commercial use.
Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile, said in June that China Mobile plans to have a total of more than 200,000 TD-LTE base stations through new builds and upgrades by 2013.
Rumors have circulated in Chinese media that China Telecom, the nation’s smallest mobile carrier, will probably adopt TD-LTE technology when it starts to deploy its 4G network. If true, it would be a great boost for the TD-LTE industry both at home and abroad.

ZTE leads in 4G wireless networks [China Daily via Xinhuanet, July 22, 2012]

ZTE Corp revealed on Friday that it has gained an upper hand over rivals in the construction of fourth generation TD-LTE wireless networks globally, after it grabbed more than 70 percent of the world’s contracts of this kind by May.
“We had absolute advantages … since the number of ZTE’s TD-LTE projects accounted for more than 70 percent of the world’s total,” said [ZTE Vice-President] Liu [Peng].
“We had absolute advantages … since the number of ZTE’s TD-LTE projects accounted for more than 70 percent of the world’s total,” said Liu.
ZTE announced on Thursday that it had been selected as one of two telecom equipment suppliers by China Mobile Hong Kong Ltd, a subsidiary of the world’s largest mobile operator China Mobile Ltd, to build a seamless converged LTE TDD and LTE FDD network in Hong Kong. The other selected supplier was Sweden-based Telefon AB LM Ericsson.
It is also the first commercial TD-LTE network set up and operated by China Mobile, and because of that, it will play a critical role in China Mobile’s overall plan to promote TD-LTE technology both at home and abroad, analysts said.
Chen Jinqiao, deputy chief engineer of the China Academy of Telecommunication Research, said: “It is a real, tangible commercial TD-LTE network, and China Mobile will learn operating experience from it and may do a better job in the commercial use of TD-LTE technology in the Chinese mainland.”

Implications of ZTE’s $20 Billion Credit Line [TBRIChannel YouTube channel, Feb 21, 2013]

ZTE’s new $20 billion credit line, awarded on Dec. 4 by the China Development Bank (CDB), is timely for the struggling China-based vendor and has breathed new life into the firm; however, it portends more woes for close competitors such as Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, analyst Chris Antlitz recorded a webinar that delved into how and why ZTE’s massive credit line is a game changer in the telecom vendor market, and discusses how it will reshape the industry over the next few years. Specifically, this webinar will cover three key topics: •How will the money help ZTE streamline its internal operations and regain traction in the marketplace? •How will competitors be affected by ZTE’s resurgence? •How will this loan reshape the telecom vendor landscape over the next few years?

EU telecom demands raise tensions with China [CNTV.cn via Xinhuanet, Feb 3, 2013]

According to a report in the Financial Times, Europe’s top trade official has urged China to grant it a bigger share of the Chinese market in telecoms network equipment.
The EU trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht, is reported to have requested a 30 percent share of China’s telecoms market to EU suppliers in return for dropping a highly contentious EU investigation into alleged subsidies to Chinese companies.
It’s also claimed De Gucht is insisting that Chinese telecom suppliers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp raise the price of their exports by 29%. The case centres on Brussels’ contention that Beijing has awarded illegal export subsidies to the two companies in order to fuel their growth in foreign markets.
A delegation from China’s Ministry of Commerce met with top EU trade officials on Friday to seek a way to settle the issue without sparking a trade war.
The EU is currently carrying out its biggest ever anti-dumping investigation into Chinese solar panel exports. It’s expected to make a formal decision on whether to impose temporary duties by the end of May.

China has till June for solar, telecoms trade deal: EU [Reuters, Feb 27, 2013]

China has until June 7 to negotiate a deal with the European Union on state subsidies for solar panels and mobile telephone networks or face possible punitive measures, the EU’s trade chief said on Wednesday.
European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told a Reuters Summit on the future of the euro zone the Chinese had told Brussels they wanted to negotiate an amicable solution to EU concerns over alleged trade distortions in the two cases.
“It is the Chinese who have requested that we would have negotiations on a possible amicable solution. We have already have contacts, we have already sent people to Beijing, and the Chinese already came to Brussels,” he said.
The hi-tech telecoms case is less advanced but potentially far bigger in political and economic impact.
The EU is collecting evidence to prepare a possible case against Chinese network equipment makers Huawei (002502.SZ) and ZTE (000063.SZ) over state subsidies, but has not received a formal complaint from European industry.
De Gucht said the Commission had the power to initiate proceedings on its own authority even if no European competitor came forward.
A complaint is the normal starting point for an investigation, but European manufacturers Ericsson (ERICb.ST), Alcatel-Lucent (ALUA.PA) and Nokia Siemens Networks NOKI.UL have remained silent because trade experts say they fear retaliation against their business in China.
The case over mobile network equipment makers would dwarf that in size. The European telecoms industry accounts for an estimated 4.8 percent of the EU’s gross domestic product.
Such self-initiated cases can be awkward for the Commission, as it appears to be both complainant and judge and still needs evidence from EU producers and approval from EU member states, which ultimately vote on Brussels’ proposals to impose duties.
De Gucht said that talks over alleged state subsidies by China to the telecom firms were running in parallel with negotiations to avoid duties on Chinese solar panels.
There were also “serious security concerns” involving mobile telecom networks, which had become the backbone of modern European society, he said, noting that the United States and Australiahad effectively shut Huawei out of their markets.
Diplomats said EU countries are divided in their approach to Huawei, with Britain and the Netherlands embracing the Chinese firm as a major job provider while others are more wary of Chinese inroads into such a sensitive sector.
A leaked internal EU report last year said that action against Chinese telecom equipment makers was needed because their increasing dominance of mobile networks makes them a threat to security.


China’s mobile phone users reach 1.11 bln
[Xinhua, Jan 25, 2013]

The number of Chinese mobile phone users reached 1.11 billion as of the end of 2012, according to official data unveiled Thursday.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said in a statement that mobile phone users represent 80 percent of all phones users in the country.
The number of mobile phones owned by every 100 people reached 82.6 by the end of 2012, up by nine from a year earlier, according to the statement.
Last year, the country recorded 125.9 million new mobile phone users, among whom 104.38 million were 3G mobile phone users, bringing the total number of 3G users to 232.8 million, the MIIT said.
The ministry said the number of Internet users rose by 51 million to 564 million people, among whom 74.5 percent, or 420 million people, surf the Internet with their mobile phones.
The Internet penetration rate reached 42.1 percent by the end of last year, up 3.8 percentage points from a year earlier.

China market: Samsung takes up 22.5% of 2012 smartphone sales, says iiMedia Research [DIGITIMES, March 7, 2013]

There were 169 million smartphones sold in the China market in 2012, hiking 130.7% from 2011, and Samsung Electronics was the largest vendor with a market share of 22.5%, according to China-based consulting company iiMedia Research.
Lenovo was the second largest vendor accounting for 10.7% of the smartphone sales volume, followed Huawei Device, Coolpad and ZTE with 9.9%, 9.5%, 8.9% respectively, Apple with 7.7%, GiONEE with 6.4%, HTC with 4.7%, Motorola Mobility with 3.5% and Nokia with 3.1%.
In terms of operating system, Android occupied 68.6% of the smartphone sales volume, followed by iOS with 12.8%, Symbian with 12.4% and Windows Phone with 3.8%.
There were 380 million smartphone users in the China market at the end of 2012, increasing 72.7% from a year ago.

iiMedia: Percentage breakdown of smartphones
sold in China by price, 2012

Price range (CNY)
Market share
Below 1,000 (US$158)
34.9%
1,000 to below 2,000
42.2%
2,000 to below 3,000
14.6%
3,000 to below 4,000
5.2%
4,000 and above
3.1%

Smart phones cover 70 pct of mobile market: report [Xinhua, March 6, 2013]

Seventy-million smart phones were shipped in China in the last quarter of 2012, covering 73.2 percent of the country’s mobile market share, newly released statistics showed Wednesday.
The volume of smart phone shipments saw a 112.1 percent year-on-year increase, according to statistics by the International Data Corporation (IDC), a global market research, analysis and advisory company.
Figures showed that shipments of mobile phones in the last three months of 2012 stood at 96 million, a 1.6 percent year-on-year rise.
Total shipments of mobile phones in China last year reached 362 million, among which smart phones recorded 213 million, a year-on-year increase of 135 percent, said IDC.
The corporation said that strong demand, subsidies from phone operators and new smart phone arrivals were the driving force behind the boom.
“Producers’ heavy investments in smart phones also contributed to the success,” said Wang Jiping, an analyst with IDC’s China subsidiary.
The company forecasts that the country’s smart phone industry will witness steady growth in the next few years.
It said smart phone shipments are expected to reach 460 million in 2017, which will take up 90.1 percent of the country’s total mobile phone sales.

More information:
China smartphone shipments to rise to 460 million by 2017-IDC [Reuters, March 7, 2013]
Smartphones Expected to Outship Feature Phones for First Time in 2013, According to IDC [IDC press release, March 4, 2013]

… Smartphone shipments to China, Brazil, and India will comprise a growing percentage of the device type’s volume in each forecast year. Smartphone demand is burgeoning in these large, populous nations as their respective economies have grown; this has made for a larger middle class that is prepared to buy smartphones. China, which supplanted the U.S. last year as the global leader in smartphone shipments, is at the forefront of this shift.
“While we don’t expect China’s smartphone growth to maintain the pace of a runaway train as it has over the last two years, there continue to be big drivers to keep the market growing as it leads the way to ever-lower smartphone prices and the country’s transition to 4G networks is only just beginning,” said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager, IDC Asia/Pacific. “Even as China starts to mature, there remains enormous untapped potential in other emerging markets like India, where we expect less than half of all phones shipped there to be smartphones by 2017, and yet it will weigh in as the world’s third largest market.”
Brazil is another market where smartphone growth will remain high over the course of the forecast as its economic fortunes improve. “Brazilians have yet to turn in their feature phones for smartphones on a wholesale basis,” said Bruno Freitas, Consumer Devices Research Manager, IDC Brazil. “The smartphone tide is turning in Brazil though, as wireless service providers and the government have laid the groundwork for a strong smartphone foundation that mobile phone manufacturers can build upon.” …

Android powers a third of all mobile phones shipped in 4Q12, says Canalys [DIGITIMES, Feb 8, 2013]

Canalys: Worldwide smartphone shipments and share by vendor, 4Q12 (m units)
Vendor
4Q12 shipments
Market share
Samsung
62.9
29%
Apple
47.8
22.1%
Huawei
11.5
5.3%
ZTE
10.1
4.7%
Lenovo
9.5
4.4%
Others
74.7
34.5%
Total
216.5
100%
Source: Canalys, compiled by Digitimes, February 2013

Canalys: Worldwide smartphone shipments and share by OS vendor, 4Q12 (m units)
OS vendor
4Q12 shipments
Market share
OHA (Android)
149.8
69.2
Apple
47.8
22.1%
BlackBerry
7.6
3.5%
Microsoft
5.1
2.4%
Nokia
3.2
1.5%
Others
3.0
1.4%
Total
216.5
100%
Source: Canalys, compiled by Digitimes, February 2013

More information:
Mobile device market to reach 2.6 billion units by 2016, says Canalys [DIGITIMES, Feb 26, 2013]
Entry-level smartphone sales expected to stay strong in China throughout 2013 [DIGITIMES, Jan 2, 2013]

Google controls too much of China’s smartphone sector: ministry [March 5, 2013]

Google Inc has too much control over China’s smartphone industry via its Android mobile operating system and has discriminated against some local firms, the technology ministry said in a white paper.
The white paper, authored by the research arm of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, also said China had the ability to create its own mobile operating system. (here)
“Our country’s mobile operating system research and development is too dependent on Android,” the paper, posted online on Friday but carried by local media on Tuesday, said.
While the Android system is open source, the core technology and technology roadmap is strictly controlled by Google.”
The paper said Google had discriminated against some Chinese companies developing their operating systems by delaying the sharing of codes. Google had also used commercial agreements to restrain the business development of mobile devices of these companies, it added.
A Google spokesman in China declined to comment.
The ministry did not recommend any specific policies, regulatory actions or other measures.
Analysts said the white paper, which lauded Chinese companies such as Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group and Huawei Technologies for creating their own systems, could be a signal to the industry that regulations against Android are on the horizon.
“In China, regulators regulate regularly especially where they can position the regulations as helping out domestic companies,” Duncan Clark, chairman of technology consultancy BDA, said in an email to Reuters.
“Ironically, Android’s success has underpinned a lot of the growth in China smartphone vendors in recent years,” Clark said. Home-grown companies had failed previously in China’s market for simple handsets, he said, due to weakness in software and operating systems.
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world’s largest smartphone maker, uses the Android system, as do Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE Corp.
Last September, the launch of a smartphone between Acer Inc and a unit of Alibaba Group was cancelled due to what Alibaba said was pressure from Google on the Taiwanese group. Representatives for Acer and Google declined to comment on the matter at that time.
Technology research firm IDC has estimated that China surpassed the United States as the world’s biggest smartphone market in 2012, accounting for 26.5 percent of all smartphones shipped.
In 2010, Google conducted a partial pullout from China on the basis of censorship and after it suffered a serious hacking episode that the company said emanated from China. Since then, Google’s search market share in China has fallen from almost 30 percent to 15 percent at the end of 2012. Android has been Google’s bright spot in China.
In the third quarter last year, Android accounted for 90 percent of all mobile operating systems in China while Apple Inc’s iOS system was at just 4.2 percent.

Too late for China to develop own mobile operating systems, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, March 7, 2013]

While China Academy of Telecommunication Research under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in its white paper calls for China’s development of own operating systems for use in smartphones, tablets and other mobile terminal devices to lessen existing heavy reliance on Google Android, sources with Taiwan-based handset supply chain makers pointed out that it is too late for such development because of difficulties to develop related technologies and establishing necessary ecosystem as well as lack of relevant patents.
It will take at least three to five years for a new mobile operating system to become competitive in market, and if China-based companies – such as device vendor Lenovo, Huawei Device, ZTE and Coolpad, and Internet service providers Alibaba and Baidu – only begin to develop own mobile operating systems now, it is already too late to catch up with competitors, the sources indicated.
Instead of developing own mobile operating systems, China-based companies can ask Google to loosen its regulations on using Android, for example, to allow development of various operating system versions based on the Android architecture, the sources said. In addition, the China government can encourage China-based companies to provide rich mobile services and develop various mobile applications based on not only Android but also iOS, Windows Phone and other operating systems, the sources indicated.

China handset makers hope to reduce reliance on Android [DIGITIMES, March 6, 2013]

The China Academy of Telecommunication Research for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has published a white paper stating that China’s handset industry has been relying heavily on the Android platform. In fact, China’s handset industry has been hoping to reduce its reliance on Google’s Android platform by switching to other platforms such as Windows Phone, Tizen, and Firefox OS. Industry sources believe the percentage of products using the Android platform is likely to fall continuously in China.
Android is an open platform, and with price advantages, many handset makers in China are using the Android platform. Currently, Android has more than 80% of share in the China smartphone platform market. The heavy reliance has been causing concerns in China.
Some China-based handset brands have been seeking cooperation with other platform developers. ZTE and TCL are the first two firms to cooperate with Mozilla and plan to introduce new products with Firefox OS platform in mid-2013. The new products are aimed at emerging markets such as Central and South America and Eastern Europe. Huawei is cooperating with Mozilla and Tizen.
However, handset makers believe China-based firms are unlikely to massively adopt other platforms in the short run as Android continues to be the most attractive and mature open platform on the market.
Handset firms noted that most China-based handset brands face the problem of relying heavily on the Android platform, which is the same problem for Samsung and HTC, but Samsung has been putting effort into diversifying by acquiring MeeGo, integrating Bada and developing Tizen while other handset makers simply do not have the resources and time to do the same.


China to modify plan to open up mobile telecom sector
[Xinhua, Jan 23, 2013]

The government is considering adjusting a plan that will allow privately-owned companies to enter the mobile telecommunications sector, a government official said on Wednesday.
Zhang Feng, director of the telecommunications development department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said at a news briefing that the ministry is reviewing opinions collected from the public and will improve the plan based on its review.
In early January, the MIIT created a pilot plan that will allow Chinese-funded private companies to buy basic mobile telecom services from the country’s major operators, add their own services and then sell the services to customers through their own brands.
Private companies will not have to build mobile telecoms infrastructure, but only set up a customer service system and other supporting networks if necessary, the plan said.
The ministry said the pilot program aims to allow private capital to further enter the telecom industry and give full play to the flexibility and creativity of private firms, as well as promote market competition and improve mobile telecom services.
The plan was published online on Jan. 7, with public opinions to be solicited until Feb. 6.
At present, China’s mobile telecom sector is dominated by the state-owned companies China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.

More information:
News Analysis: China to open up mobile telecom sector [Xinhua, Jan 15, 2013]

… Shi Wei, an expert with the Institute of Economic System and Management under China’s top economic planner, said that private firms participating in the program must strive to make innovations in their services, or else they will become just agents for major carriers.
“Private companies should develop more innovative applications and provide differentiated services to win their share of the market,” Shi said. …
… The pilot program is designed to last for two years.
Private enterprises can send applications to telecom authorities within the first year of the program.
China has attached great significance to encouraging private investment, as it plays an important role in creating jobs, boosting domestic consumption and maintaining sustainable economic growth.
In 2010, China’s State Council, or the Cabinet, announced policies to open a range of government-run industries to private investment, including water projects, power generation, mining, as well as the telecommunication sector.
To help implement those policies, the MIIT made a detailed plan for guiding private capital to enter the telecom industry in June 2012.

So there are wider reasons for such a change of attitude as well:
2012 profits slow at China’s central SOEs [XinHua, Feb 8, 2013]
Private, collective businesses’ trade outpaces SOEs [Xinhua, Jan 3, 2013]

Private and collectively-owned businesses saw their foreign trade expand faster than that of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and foreign-funded companies in the January and November period, according to the national economic planner.
In the first 11 months, foreign trade at private and collectively-owned companies totaled 1.09 trillion U.S. dollars, up 18.1 percent year on year, according to data released by the National Development and Reform Commission on Thursday.
The total figure included 687.32 billion U.s. dollars in exports, up19.4 percent, and 402.75 billion U.S. dollars in imports, up 15.9 percent, the data showed.
In contrast, foreign-funded firms saw foreign trade rise 1.9 percent year on year to reach 1.72 trillion U.S. dollars between January and November.
Meanwhile, trade for SOEs dropped 1.1 percent from a year earlier to 685.9 billion U.S. dollars in the first 11 months, as exports declined 4 percent in the period while imports posted a slight increase of 0.9 percent, the data showed.
The General Administration of Customs previously released disappointing trade data for November due to slackened external demand. China’s exports grew just 2.9 percent year on year in November, while the growth of imports remained unchanged from a year earlier.

4M[bps] broadband to cover 70 percent of Chinese users in 2013 [Xinhua, Feb 26, 2013]

More than 70 percent of China’s Internet users will enjoy access to broadband Internet services in 2013, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said Tuesday.
The percentage of users with access to 4M[bps] or faster services climbed 23 percentage points to 63 percent in 2012 from the previous year, said Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology.
Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services will cover 35 million households this year, as FTTH households grew by 49 million to reach 94 million in 2012, Miao said.
The government also hopes to add more than 25 million new fixed-line broadband subscriber households, as the number of fixed-line broadband subscriber households rose by 25.1 million to 175 million in 2012, Miao said.
Other goals expanding the number of public wireless hot spots by 1.3 million, Miao said.
FTTH refers to a form of fiber-optic communication delivery that reaches one living or working space. The fiber extends from a central office to the subscriber’s living or working space.

Broadband network expansion in the pipeline [China Daily via Xinhuanet, March 31, 2013]

China is expected to have 20 million new broadband Internet subscribers this year and a total of 250 million subscribers by the end of 2015, the country’s top industry regulator said on Friday.
“The nation needs to improve broadband speed. Our aim is to install fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband connections for 35 million families this year,” said Industry and Information Technology Minister Miao Wei.
The announcement came after an investigation of two domestic telecom giants over alleged monopolistic practices in November.
[see: China Telecom, China Unicom pledge to mend errors after anti-monopoly probe [Xinhua, Dec 2, 2011]]
The broadband development plan is a part of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), which is to increase the country’s average broadband speed to 20 megabytes per second by the end of 2015.
China had 156 million Internet broadband users in 2011, 83 percent of the users’ Internet speed exceeding 2MB/s. About 45 million families were covered by the FTTH network, and the Internet surfing fee decreased by 30 percent compared with 2005.
However, Wu Hequan, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said in an earlier report that the average download speed of China’s broadband is 1.15MB/s, half of the global speed.
China’s three telecom carriers will implement the plan and invest more in the industry.
As the major provider of China’s Internet broadband infrastructure, China Telecom will invest 40 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) to build the FTTH network this year, and attract 25 million new FTTH users, bringing the total number to 55 million, said Wang Xiaochu, chairman of China Telecom.
Xi Guohua, China Mobile‘s new chairman, said the company has built a broadband network for 4,100 villages and that number is expected to reach more than 8,000 by the end of this year. He also said the company will add 1.4 million WLAN wireless hotspots this year, and 1.2 million new Internet users.
China Unicom has more than 44 million broadband users, 90 percent of them connected at more than 2MB/s. The company has injected 60 billion yuan into broadband development in the past three years, said its Chairman Chang Xiaobing.
Sixteen Internet giants, including Baidu and Sina, attended the meeting and promised to improve their services online.

China Unicom’s 3G subscribers hit 76.46 mln [Xinhua, Jan 19, 2013]

China Unicom [W-CDMA], the country’s second-largest mobile operator by subscribers, said in a latest report that it added 3.13 million 3G subscribers in December, bringing its total 3G users to 76.46 million.
The carrier’s 2G subscribers totalled 163 million as of the end of December, a decrease of 36,000 from November, according to the report filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
The operator’s Internet users with broadband access amounted to 93.87 million as of last year, the statement said.
Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) showed China’s 3G users had reached 220 million by November.
The MIIT said China will add an estimated 100 million new 3G subscribers this year.

China: 20,000 TD-LTE base stations in 13 cities by the end of 2012 and about 200,000 base stations in 100 cities launched in 2013 with the 2.6GHz TDD spectrum planning just started—SoftBank with TD-LTE strategy in Japan getting into global play with Sprint (also the 49% owner of US TD-LTE champion, Clearwire) acquisition

China Mobile TD-LTE tender results … [Communications World Network (CWW), Oct 16, 2012]

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 publicas per China Mobile.

Alcatel-Lucent Wins TD-LTE Contract to China Mobile [Cynthia Chow YouTube channel, Oct 16, 2012]

China Mobile, the world largest wireless operator with over 650 mobile subscribers, announced plans to deploy a large scale TD-LTE network. Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell is pleased to be a part of China Mobile’s plans. Rajeev Singh-Molares discusses the deal and what a TD-LTE network on a China-sized scale means for us and the industry.

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.

ITU Telecom World 2012—TD-LTE/ TD-SCDMA Solutions: Leading TD Development [Datang News, Oct 15, 2012]

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.

Japanese Company Buys Sprint [BizAsiaAmerica YouTube channel, Oct 16, 2012]

Correspondent Mike Firn elaborates on the recent purchase of Sprint by Softbank, a Japanese telecommunications company

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.
For more:
– 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
Related Article
Analysts: Softbank’s deal with Sprint benefits U.S. wireless market 
Softbank to buy 70% of Sprint for $20.1B 
Analysis: A Softbank buyout would give Sprint cash, improve TD-LTE ecosystem 
Can Japan’s Softbank reinvigorate Sprint? 
Sprint confirms Softbank in talks to take control

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.
Oct. 16, 2012 – Updated 02:29 UTC (11:29 JST)

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]

Source: Sina

  • 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]

Madam Huang Yuhong, the Deputy General Manager of China Mobile Research Institute. She is also Secretary General of Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) and Operating Committee member of Next Generation Mobile Network (NGMN) Alliance. Madame Huang joined Mobile Bureau of MIT, the predecessor of China Mobile in 1996 and joined in China Mobile since its establishment in 2000. As a wireless technology expert, she has 16 years of rich experience in the development of key technologies and international standardization. Madam Huang served as Vice-Chairman of 3GPP TSG Service and System Aspects (TSG-SA) from 2005 to 2008. Madam Huang graduated from the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications in 1993 with a Bachelor degree in Wireless Engineering, and received a Master degree of Digital Mobile in 1996.

– 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.

Mr. Tetsuzo Matsumoto, Member of the Board, Chief Strategy, Adviser to CEO, SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp. [June 5, 2012]

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

Author: Daryl Schoolar, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure
(Report excerpt)

imageimage

MWC 2012: the 4G/LTE lightRadio network

Day 1: Alcatel-Lucent at MWC 2012 – lightRadio [AlcatelLucentCorp YouTube channel, Feb 28, 2012]

Video of Day 1 at Mobile World Congress 2012. Booth tour, images from Telefonica’s press conference about their live LTE network with lightRadio, interviews and more… Wim Sweldens, President Wireless Division Alcatel-Lucent: “You can experience it all over Barcelona but you can’t actually see it. The cells are so small that they are hidden behind the buildings. There is no need for more towers to actually deploy this much capacity and coverage for the network.” …

Telefónica unveils smart 4G experience at Mobile World Congress [Telefónica press release, Feb 26, 2012] or After a Year of Close Collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent and with the Support of Samsung, Telefonica Unveils Smart 4G Experience at Mobile World Congress [Alcatel Lucent press release, Feb 26, 2012]

image– Telefónica’s smarter 4G delivers increased capacity in high data-traffic density areas and greater bandwidth than current LTE networks, as well as superior indoor coverage.
– Small-cell technology speeds up network deployment, reduces costs and makes more efficient use of spectrum use and costs.
– First LTE deployment of its kind at 2.6Ghz band frequency and the first time that real users will be able to experience the benefits of the 4G technology of the future.

imageTelefónica today announced the first live experience of the world’s ‘smartest’ 4G network, in the most ambitious technological innovation ever deployed at the Mobile World Congress[1]. The network – the world´s first of its kind in the 2.6Ghz frequency band – provides download speeds of 100 Mbps, between 40-60Mbps on upload, vastly improved indoor coverage and can increase capacity by up to 400 per cent in high density data-traffic areas.

Based on Alcatel-Lucent‘s lightRadio technology, Telefónica‘s network is a revolutionary first step towards a real ‘HetNet’ network, which greatly improves mobile coverage by bringing small-cell base stations closer to the customer. In this deployment conventional radio base stations co-exist with 4G metro cells (small base stations incorporating antennas and radio) working on the same frequency and with no interference. As a strong supporter for Telefonica‘s LTE service initiative, Samsungis also presenting the first LTE smart mobile devices for band 7 (2.6Ghz), GALAXY S II LTE smartphone and GALAXY Tab 8.9 LTE tablet, which can be used on this new high-capacity network.

The most significant feature of Telefónica‘s LTE network is its increased capacity – with each cell comfortably supporting 30 people browsing simultaneously with average speed of 30Mbps. Tests conducted on this network show that a 400% increase in capacity can be made available to users compared to a conventional network design, and that significantly higher capacity gains could be delivered with denser metro-network design. The network supports speeds of up to 10 times those offered by the 3G network, with download speeds of 100Mbps, upload speeds of 40-60 Mbps and with latency times of around 20-25 milliseconds.

‘Today the future of mobile networks begins’, said Enrique Blanco, Telefónica‘s Chief Technology Officer. ‘The deployment of LTE that Telefónica has brought to the MWC, together with Alcatel -Lucent, gives us a glimpse of a tomorrow where everyone and everything is seamlessly connected, and in superfast time. But the challenge ahead is to ensure that all the technologies currently being deployed – 2G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi and Fiber – can co-exist to deliver next generation communications. Telefónica’s strategy is to develop intelligent networks that allow these different technologies to co-exist efficiently and cover customers’ growing connectivity needs in markets that are at different stages of development’.

Another key benefit of the advanced feature network is that it utilises the same frequency for several network layers, allowing for far more efficient use of spectrum. This solution would also reduce network deployment costs by as much as 40 per cent, as the installation of small-cells significantly reduces the amount of construction, installation and configuration work needed. Additionally, small-cells use less powerful amplification equipment, resulting in energy savings of up to 35 per cent and a guaranteed reduction in environmental impact.

Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent‘s Wireless Division said: ‘This close collaboration with Telefónica through our co-creation programme is a clear articulation of the future of mobile broadband – rather than merely evolving their current architecture, which was designed for voice and messaging, Telefónica is making fast progress toward building a mobile broadband network designed with the future in mind. The wireless network of the future needs to be lighter, greener and closer to customers and deliver much higher capacity – that is what lightRadio is all about’.

‘Samsung has been actively collaborating with Telefónica for LTE trial services with a variety of device line-up from LTE dongles to MiFi and LTE smartphones across European markets. I am excited to join Telefónica’s breakthrough LTE demonstration with our representative LTE models, GALAXY S II LTE and GALAXY Tab 8.9 LTE’, said DJ Lee, executive vice president and head of Sales and Marketing team for SamsungMobile. ‘We are fully committed to supporting Telefónica’s LTE roll-out and hopefully will try to expand our LTE partnerships not only for European markets but also including Latin American markets. Our ambition is to become a number one LTE partner for Telefónica’.

Visitors to MWC will be able to experience first-hand the wide range of options generated by this innovative network at the Telefónica stand (Hall 8), where the smallest metro cells in the market and the latest LTE devices from Samsung are being exhibited. A video wall will demonstrate the capabilities of the network by projecting filmed live at the congress and delivered via LTE. The Samsung LTE devices will be used for high-definition videoconferences. This will demonstrate for both applications the improvements in speeds of both links for uploads and downloads. There will be real-ime gaming demonstrations as well as augmented reality and hypermedia applications that highlight the latency and versatility of the network.

Background information:
Alcatel-Lucent collaborates with Telefonica to bring the first superfast 4G mobile broadband services to consumers in Spain [Alcatel-Lucent press release, Sept 14, 2011]
lightRadio™: Evolve your wireless broadband network for the new generation of applications and users [Alcatel-Lucent microsite, Feb 27, 2012]
Wi-Fi goes mobile with Alcatel-Lucent [Alcatel-Lucent press release for lightRadio WiFi, Feb 14, 2012]
lightRadio WiFi [Alcatel-Lucent microsite, Feb 14, 2012]

Day 2: Alcatel-Lucent at MWC 2012 – Bell Labs [AlcatelLucentCorp YouTube channel, Feb 29, 2012]

Video of Day 2 at Mobile World Congress 2012. A look at Bell Labs research, interviews with Alice White, Markus Hofmann, Marcus Weldon and Tod Sizer. The research project started 2 years ago that lead to the lightRadio is mentioned as the showcase example of Bell Labs contributions to the advancement of the communication industry.

lightRadio™ Network: A New Wireless Experience [ by Rasika Abeysinghe, PhD in Enriching Communications, Alcatel-Lucent business e-zine, Feb 27, 2012]

Highlights

  • Operators can deliver up to 10-times more capacity by deploying a 1:10 ratio of small- to macro cells
  • The lightRadio Network can improve capacity by up to 70%
  • A modular and virtualized architecture lets operators adapt to changing usage patterns

The rising demand for mobile broadband services is straining legacy wireless networks. Operators face increasing pressure to deliver the rich quality of experience (QoE)their customers and partners expect. To meet these expectations and remain competitive, they need cost-effective and sustainable network architectures that can deliver increased connectivity and capacity on demand.

QoE: The new currency in the mobile value chain

As the focus of mobile wireless communications shifts from voice to data, users attach greater importance to QoE. Today’s users expect fast wireless networks, comprehensive coverage and uninterrupted connectivity. There’s no room for delays, dropped connections or peak-time congestion in their vision of mobile broadband.

Users clearly value QoE, but application and content providers (ACPs) depend on it. Whether ACPs offer TV streams, interactive apps or video conferencing services, QoE plays a central role in their success. They have a vested interest in ensuring that users enjoy the best possible experience. For this, ACPs rely on mobile operators and their networks.

To move up the mobile value chain and attract partnerships with ACPs, operators have to deliver on QoE. Operators can control QoE, for example, by managing bit rates or by making it easy for users to switch between 2G/3G/LTE networks and Wi-Fi hotspots. But they need to control it more efficiently to prove their value as partners and providers and position themselves as the ideal channel for delivering value-added applications and content.

The QoE and capacity challenge

Legacy macro networks were built to support voice services, a task they perform extremely well. But the demand for mobile broadband data services adds new and more complex challenges to wireless networks. Operators who retrofit voice networks for data face a host of new challenges.

For example, operators don’t always have spectrum for mobile broadband services. This makes it tough to meet demand for data. Increasing indoor wireless use also presents problems. Outdoor macro towers can’t always deliver sufficient data rates, coverage and capacity to users in homes and offices.

Today, operators are constantly trying to squeeze more capacity out of legacy networks. One common strategy is cell splitting — adding cells, towers and sites. This can be complex and expensive, and zoning rules can even make it impossible in some areas. Operators that don’t evolve their networks — or don’t evolve fast enough — may be left behind by customers and competitors who embrace next-generation equipment.

Building wireless networks for an unpredictable future

Mobile operators want wireless networks that can help them tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. These challenges include:

  • Adding capacity where users want and need it
  • Ensuring that customer QoE is met
  • Building a cost-effective foundation for addressing future demand
  • Delivering eco-sustainable solutions

Smartphone penetration and mobile data traffic are increasing rapidly. According to Vision Mobile, in the 3rd quarter of 2011 smartphone shipments penetration surpassed 29% globally.[1]People still use their phones mostly for voice — on a time basis. However, they consume more data with apps including video streaming, music, web browsing and social networking from their homes, offices and in the community. They connect to hotspots in high-traffic areas like stadiums, public squares and hotels. Operators have to provide more capacity in more locations to ensure that QoE follows users wherever they go.

While no one can say for certain what capacity needs will be in 5 years, we do have reasonably good models for the next 6 months to a year. However, if a new type of device like the Apple iPhone® or iPad®[2]arrives on the market it could cause a major disruption. What we know right now is that new wireless devices — smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, in-car devices — will fuel demand by supporting smarter applications and richer content. Wireless networks will need to be flexible enough to handle whatever demand the future brings. And they’ll need to do it while keeping costs low.

It’s not all about delivering more capacity and richer experiences. Operators need to consider the environment, too. The next generation of wireless network architectures must have a smaller carbon footprint. This means consuming less power. It also means deploying elements that use less space and blend in with what’s around them. No one wants to see more towers and more bulky equipment.

The lightRadio™ Network advantage

Alcatel-Lucent has introduced the lightRadioNetwork to empower operators to deliver on their present and future challenges. It seamlessly increases capacity and extends it to more places, helping operators satisfy users and generate new revenue. It reduces power consumption and footprint, enabling operators to promote sustainability and bottom-line growth. And it provides an effective foundation for supporting future demand, helping operators manage capacity and cost.

For users, it all comes down to QoE. With the lightRadio Network, users get higher throughputs to support the rich experiences they crave. In contrast to traditional wireless networks, this support is continuous: Whether indoors, outdoors or on the move, users switch seamlessly to the best possible network. There’s no need to pause a video or interrupt an application to select a hotspot or enter a password.

A closer look

The lightRadio Network is inherently heterogeneous bringing together a broad range of technologies and different types of access nodes. At the same time, the architecture is homogenous: Its components share the same platforms, control and management. These components can include:

  • Small cells, which extend coverage indoors and in hotspots. Small cells perform efficiently in residences and businesses. They work best when deployed close to users, for example, on lamp posts or walls in train stations or shopping centers. In a given network, operators can deliver up to 10-times more throughput by deploying a 1:10 ratio of small cells to macro cells.[3]
  • lightRadio wideband active antenna arrays (WB-AAA), popularly known as cubes, that use advanced interference management algorithms to create overlapping zones of high signal strength. Known as vertical sectorization, this increases capacity and coverage for a given area. These comparatively low-power elements make more efficient use of spectrum. When deployed in a macro environment, they can improve capacity by up to 70%.[4]This improved capacity can help operators attract users and generate more revenue.
  • Wi-Fi hotspots, that allow operators to offer additional options for access to high bandwidth data users. This has the dual benefit of keeping the end user satisfied and allowing the operator to take some traffic off costly cellular spectrum. The lightRadio architecture uses a common core network to support Wi-Fi and cellular access. Users can seamlessly switch between the two without having to enter a new password.

All of these components support sharing and virtualization, which help operators deliver more flexible capacity and control. For example, operators can connect lightRadio cubes to external baseband units (BBUs) to serve hotspots that require massive capacity, such as sports arenas. Or, operators can scale and share control capacity to cost-effectively improve performance at specific places and times. This can help overcome traffic spikes that arise as new devices connect to the data network.

Making the move

Operators face no significant barriers to making the move to the lightRadio Network. While each operator has a unique starting point based on its own business needs and operating environment they have a number of things in common. They need modular, flexible wireless networks that can address data demand and keep costs in check.

This new network architecture helps operators kick-start transformation with the wireless infrastructure, spectrum and multivendor networks they have now. An effective transformation includes:

  • Targeting capacity problems in hotspots and indoors
  • Migrating to LTE for efficient spectrum usage
  • Adding a WB-AAA architecture for more capacity per site
  • Virtualizing capacity and control for more flexibility

Operators can control costs by scaling capacity in manageable increments. These strategies and savings can extend to many parts of the network, including wireless backhaul links, small sites and legacy equipment.

By alleviating concerns about capacity, scalability and cost, the lightRadio network architecture offers operators the chance to rethink the challenges of the present and future. It can help them swap a defensive stance — coping with demand — for a positive approach focused on turning mobile broadband demand into new revenue.

To contact the author or request additional information, please send an email to enrich.editor@alcatel-lucent.com.

Footnotes
[1] Mobile Platforms: The Clash of Ecosystems, VisionMobile, Nov. 2011; http://www.visionmobile.com/blog/2011/11/new-report-mobile-platforms-the-clash-of-ecosystems/.
[2] iPhone® and iPad® are trademarks of Apple Inc.
[3] Based on Alcatel-Lucent study, 2011.
[4] ibid.

Day 3: Alcatel-Lucent at MWC 2012 – Cloud solutions [AlcatelLucentCorp YouTube channel, Feb 29, 2012]

Video of Day 3 at Mobile World Congress 2012, about cloud services and solutions of today and tomorrow, the role of the network and of service providers. … The cloud of tomorrow is all about Quality of Experience. This is where lightRadio networks are becoming the key elements of the future network infrastructure solutions. …

Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile accelerate development of lightRadio™ to support exploding customer demand for mobile broadband in China [Alcatel Lucent press release, Feb 28, 2012]

Teams sign lightRadio™ architecture co-creation agreement to accelerate the development and delivery of lightning fast mobile broadband services in a sustainable way

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) and China Mobile have signed a co-creationagreement under which teams from the two companies are conducting joint development and test activities on a series of lightRadio projects at Alcatel-Lucent’s Stuttgart lab.  The work will help to accelerate the smooth commercial introduction of this groundbreaking new product family to meet China Mobile’s business initiatives and support growing customer demand for high-bandwidth mobile broadband services.

China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile provider. Benefiting from the dramatic growth in mobile Internet use, China Mobile had around 650 million subscribers by the end of 2011. – and that number is growing at a rate of 11.2% year over year. Those customers are increasingly adopting smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices which is driving massive  demand for high-bandwidth mobile data services such as video and Internet gaming.

This co-creation agreement follows the non-binding MoU signed between Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile in mid 2011. It also builds on the collaboration between the companies on the delivery of superfast mobile broadband using TD-LTE technology and the announcement of the first Trans-Pacific lightRadio video call. This agreement defines the projects that will be undertaken by the two companies and kicks off the co-development activities. This collaboration will speed the introduction of the lightRadio product prototype to the second half of the year.

Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio™ reduces the size of traditional mobile base stations to a Rubik’s cube, while lowering power-consumption and allowing the transfer of vast amounts of data at lightning fast speeds.

Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “The ability for us to pair with the world’s largest mobile provider to gain deeper insight into its customer behaviours and the way services are evolving will ensure we develop lightRadio in the right direction. The knowledge we gain from implementing lightRadio to support the delivery of mobile broadband services to 650 million people will help us to meet the growing demand for services across the globe.

The co-creation agreement was signed by Bill Huang, president of China Mobile Research Institute and Wim Sweldens, president of Alcatel-Lucent Wireless Division, on January 13 at Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs headquarters in Murray Hill, New Jersey.  Li Zhengmao, Vice President of China Mobile, and Jeong Kim, President of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs attended the signing ceremony.

Under the terms of the agreement, China Mobile engineers have already begun working with Alcatel-Lucent’s R&D team in the company’s lab in Stuttgart Germany.  The two companies will co-work on a series of lightRadio joint development projects including the cube-based radio, baseband unit (BBU) pooling and redefining the radio architecture. By bringing together talents from both companies, these projects will support China Mobile’s evolving business initiatives, including the introduction of high-speed TD-LTE mobile broadband technology, encourage idea-generation and facilitate the smooth commercial implementation of lightRadio.

Day 4: Alcatel-Lucent at MWC 2012 – Rise above the data storm [AlcatelLucentCorp YouTube channel, March 2, 2012]

Video of Day 4 at Mobile World Congress 2012. The big discussion at MWC is about the data storm, the demand for mobile broadband services driven by the customers and anytime, anywhere access to these services. … How operators rise above the data storm? For capacity (serving more users in the peak hours), for having lower costs per bit (to get to the mass market), and for monetizing more often (in 65% of time or more the networks are not in a peak). How they do that? They do that with lightRadio which gives them an IP platform, mobile broadband platform end-to-end. … Best infrastructure technology 2012 goes to lightRadio and the Cube. … “This thing has transformed our company. It has transformed the way that we develop products. It has trasformed the way people looked at us. And this will for the long period to come be the symbol of the new Alcatel-Lucent.” — Ben Verwaayen, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent.

MWC: The fastest show on Earth [by Ben Verwaayen, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent, March 1, 2012]

And the GSMA award for best infrastructure technology goes to... lightRadio!

And the GSMA award for best infrastructure technology goes to… lightRadio!

MWC, the fastest show on earth for anybody who is somebody in the telecoms world, is always an amazing event.

What is clear this year is that the world is flatter than ever before. Innovation is coming from all corners of the globe and there is no region that is excluded from the information and video revolution.

As a result players are on the move. Policy makers, regulators, operators, technology providers, service providers, application developpers, all are chasing the customer driving the change.

She happens to be 14 year old and she was dearly missed at the exhibition. Her focus is services, video, chatting, facebooking on multiple screens.

She wants to be identified as a person, recognized for her preferences and protected against undue approaches.  She doesn’t care about cloud or tablet or smartphone, she wants cool services on a cool device and be able to afford it.

There are so many that agree with her that the market dynamics are changing worldwide.

Alcatel-Lucent had a great win in Barcelona. We won the infrastructure of the year award for lightRadio, our cubesized basestation, that performed in real traffic wonders for Telefonica. Customers loved the stand, they agreed with the need to make the network relevant in the journey ahead. We have never seen so much interest in our latest portfolio of Services, Applications and Products.

So, days packed, staff worked 24/7 but it was a great experience.

Ben

Details of the lightRadio technology (copied from the earlier post: Good TD-LTE potential for target commercialisation by China Mobile in 2012 [July 13, 2011 – Feb 8, 2012])

lightRadio: Alcatel-Lucent at “Best Practice Live” virtual conference [July 5, 2011]

lightRadioTM is a disruptive Wireless Architecture that enables operators the opportunity to develop next generation converged 2G/3G/LTE Radio Networks. Valérie Layan – VP Wireless Solutions EMEA at Alcatel-Lucent outlined how this unique solution offers a dramatic new way of building networks that will enable Macro and Small Cell integration, offer Opex savings of more than 50% compared to Classic BTS design and set the course for Wireless & Wireline convergence.

lightRadio Press Coverage

LIGHTRADIO CONNECTS THE WORLD [June 15, 2011]

The world’s first long-distance, high-quality mobile video-call using lightRadio™ – a breakthrough system pioneered by Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) to transform the economics and efficiency of mobile telephony– has successfully taken place from the historic desk of Alexander Graham Bell.

Industry executives, technology leaders and analysts witnessed the inaugural lightRadio video call made from the headquarters of Bell Labs, the innovation engine of Alcatel-Lucent and now home to Graham Bell’s desk, from which he made the first-ever long-distance phone call.

Chris Lewis, Group Vice President of industry analysts IDC, hosted the call from Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, connecting with Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive of Alcatel-Lucent in Paris, and delegates at a business conference in Miami.

lightRadio is the name of a family of technologies which are set to transform mobile communications, improving the quality of network services for consumers while dramatically reducing the size, carbon footprint and energy consumption of mobile base stations.

After participating in the call, Ben Verwaayen, said: “We have taken lightRadio from the drawing-board to a fully working system, creating an entirely new system to connect customers around the world.”

The launch of lightRadio will help address exploding demand for mobile broadband services and increasing global consumption of wireless content. This has been fuelled by the adoption of smartphones and the popularity of video applications, social networking and mobile gaming services– all requiring wireless service providers to provide greater speed and capacity everywhere.

Network operators such as France Telecom/Orange, Telefonica and China Mobile are now engaged with Alcatel-Lucent in co-creating the market implementation of lightRadio. The system is expected to deliver significant operational savings for carriers and infrastructure owners by marking an end to the existing system of complex base stations and large cell towers.

This week’s inaugural call demonstrates lightRadio’s ability to handle high levels of data, meeting demand from customers increasingly using mobile video on Internet-networks. Among breakthroughs promised by the system, it will reduce mobile network energy consumption by 50% – compared with current equipment; enable roll-out of mobile broadband services to new marketsusing sustainable-power sources; and deliver major savings for operators.

Alcatel-Lucent predicts that lightRadio will help cut the cost of mobile infrastructure site, energy consumption, operations and maintenance. Bell Labs estimates that the total cost of ownership of mobile networks, the sum spent by mobile operators on access systems, reached 150 billion Euros in 2010.

More information about Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio portfolio can found online at http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/lightradio.

China Mobile and Alcatel-Lucent partner to develop next-generation RAN [Feb 15, 2011]

Alcatel-Lucent today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator and a leader in TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE, for the development of a next-generation radio access network (RAN). The MOU was signed by Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell, Alcatel-Lucent’s flagship company in China.

Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile will jointly launch technical and economic studies and investigate the technologies essential to build a centralized, collaborative, Cloud-based RAN (C-RAN) in order to set new standards for cost-effectiveness, network intelligence and energy-efficiency (“green”). The C-RAN will provide a common platform for multi-mode wireless standards such as GSM, 3G, and LTE, enabling to significantly improve network quality and coverage, reduce transmission resource consumption and lower OPEX by up to 50% and CAPEX by 15%.

Rajeev Singh-Molares, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s activities in Asia-Pacific said: “The partnership with China Mobile is directly addressing the challenges of high energy costs, explosion of mobile video and sustainable development. By helping them replace traditional network designs with flexible cloud-like architectures, we are preparing the future and help show the way in terms of technology and economic models.”

The strategic partnership for C-RAN will leverage Alcatel-Lucent’s recently-announced lightRadio, a breakthrough in mobile and broadband infrastructure to streamline and radically simplify mobile networks. Pioneered by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s research and development arm, the new lightRadio system will dramatically reduce operating costs, technical complexity and power consumption.  This is accomplished by taking today’s base stations and massive cell site towers, typically the most expensive, power hungry, and difficult to maintain elements in the network, and radically reducing and simplifying them.

lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and distributed through the antenna or the network for cloud-like processing.  Additionally the various cell site tower antennas are combined and shrunk into a single small powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered multi frequency, multi standard (2G, 3G, LTE) device that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection.

The partnership with China Mobile also reflects Alcatel-Lucent’s strong commitment to sustainable development and to Green as testified, in particular, by its leading role in theexternal linkGreenTouch™ Consortium, a global research initiative dedicated to dramatically improving the energy efficiency of information and communications technology (ICT) networks by a factor of 1,000. GreenTouch™ recently presented a Large-Scale Antenna System proof of concept offering the potential for tremendous energy savings thanks to its novel wireless transmission techniques.

Alcatel-Lucent maps the future of mobile technology [Feb 7, 2011]

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced lightRadio™, a breakthrough in mobile and broadband infrastructure that streamlines and radically simplifies mobile networks. The solution was unveiled at a major press launch event in London supported by partners Freescale and HP.

Pioneered by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s unique research and development arm, the new lightRadio system will dramatically reduce technical complexity and contain power consumption and other operating costs in the face of sharp traffic growth. This is accomplished by taking today’s base stations and massive cell site towers, typically the most expensive, power hungry, and difficult to maintain elements in the network, and radically shrinking and simplifying them.

lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network. Additionally today’s clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems are combined and shrunk into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered multi frequency, multi standard Wideband Active Array Antenna that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection.

Alcatel-Lucent’s new lightRadio product family, of which initial elements ready to begin customer trials in the second half 2011, provides the following benefits:

  • Improves the environment:lightRadio reduces energy consumption of mobile networks by up to 50% over current radio access network equipment. (As a point of reference, Bell Labs research estimates that basestations globally emit roughly 18,000,000 metric tons of CO2 per year). Also, lightRadio provides an alternative to today’s jungle of large overcrowded cell site towers by enabling small antennas anywhere.
  • Addresses digital divide: By reducing the cell site to just the antenna and leveraging future advances in microwave backhaul and compression techniques, this technology will eventually enable the easy creation of broadband coverage virtually anywhere there is power (electricity, sun, wind) by using microwave to connect back to the network.
  • Offers major savings for operators: Thanks to lightRadio’s impact on site, energy, operations and maintenance costs; when combined with small cells and LTE, this new solution can lead to a reduction of total cost of ownership (TCO) of mobile networks up to 50% (as a point of reference, Bell Labs estimates that TCO spent by mobile operators in mobile access in 2010 was 150 billion Euros).

Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “lightRadio is a smart solution to a tough set of problems: high energy costs, the explosion of video on mobile, and connecting the unconnected.”

Alain Maloberti, Senior Vice President, Network Architecture and Design, France Telecom/Orange said: “Alcatel-Lucent’s new vision and strategy of mobile broadband is quite exciting: the new wireless network architecture and innovative radio proposal will potentially help us to achieve significant operating cost savings and be better prepared for future challenges. We look forward to work closely with Alcatel-Lucent to explore and test this new approach.”

Tom Sawanobori, VP Technology Planning, Verizon Wireless, said: “Verizon looks forward to learning more about the benefits of lightRadio technology and how they could be applied as we continue to expand and evolve our LTE network.”

Alcatel-Lucent is also in advanced planning with China Mobile as well as a number of other carriers around the globe around co-creation and field trials of the lightRadio solution.

Alcatel-Lucent studies have concluded that the total addressable opportunity for the multi-technology radio market1, which lightRadio addresses, will be over 12 billion Euros in 2014, representing more than 55% of the total wireless RAN market. The cumulative total addressable market will be over 100 billion Euros from 2011-2018.

Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio portfolio integrates a number of breakthrough innovations and technologies from Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs research arm and ecosystem of companies:

Market Impact Technology Innovation
A new generation of active antennas allows vertical beam-forming that improves capacity in urban and suburban sites by about 30%, supports all technologies (2G, 3G, and LTE) and covers multiple frequency bands with a single unit. lightRadio cube – A unique Bell Labs antenna technology, the lightRadio Cube includes an innovative diplexer type, radio, amplifier, and passive cooling in a small cube that fits in the palm of the hand.
By moving former basestation components to a System on a Chip (SOC), lightRadio places processing where it fits best in the network – whether at the antenna or in the cloud. System-on-a-chip (SoC) jointly developed with Freescale Semiconductor, integrates intelligent software from Alcatel-Lucent onto fully remotely programmable state-of-the-art hardware.
The economics of radio networks are substantially improved by reducing the number and cost of fiber pairs required to support the traffic between the antenna and the centralized processing in the cloud. Unique compression algorithms provide nearly a factor of three compression of IQ sample signals.
Matching of load to demand through ‘elastic’ controller capacity, delivered on sets of distributed and shared hardware platforms, will improve cost, availability, and performance of wireless networks. Virtualized processing platforms. Alcatel-Lucent will use innovative virtualization software and will collaborate with partners like HP to enable a cloud-like wireless architecture for controllers and gateways.

The lightRadio Product Family The new Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio product family is composed of the following components: Wideband Active Array Antenna, Multiband Remote Radio Head, Baseband Unit, Controller, and the 5620 SAM common management solution. The Wideband Active Array Antenna will be trialed later this year and have broad product availability in 2012. Additional product family members will be available over 2012, 2013 and 2014.

For detailed information on these elements please as well as a webcast replay of today’s press conference please visit http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/lightradio(replay available at 2:30 pm GMT). The lightRadio approach and technology path will be shown and explained further at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 14-17 February.

[1] The multi-technology radio market consists of radio access base stations that simultaneously support 2G, 3G, and LTE, and multiple frequencies, in the same platform.

“Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio approach is a revolutionary step in evolving traditional telecommunication networks to more heterogeneous networks with higher capacity and lower cost,” said Lisa Su, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group. “Freescale is collaborating with Alcatel-Lucent to provide the chip-based architectures through our new system-on-chip technology that supports the highly-flexible, multi-standard, programmable capability required to make lightRadio a reality.”

“Communication service providers will be better able to meet the shifting and growing demands placed on their networks as a result of the new lightRadio product family from Alcatel-Lucent,” said Sandeep Johri, vice president, Strategy and Solutions, Enterprise Business, HP. “As part of the lightRadio evolution, HP intends to work with Alcatel-Lucent in a co-creation fashion around the use of cloud and virtualization technologies in the mobile access space.”

“The day has finally come when service providers need to take a serious look at the road ahead in terms of technology and their economic models,” said Phil Marshall of Tolaga Research. “To survive and thrive, service providers must evolve network designs, embrace small cell sites and all-IP architectures and replace traditional network designs with flexible cloud-like architectures that can truly meet the data demands of the future.”

The Disappearing Mobile Masts and Towers [Feb 7, 2011]

The looming global gridlock in mobile communications promises to be averted following the launch today of pioneering technology which will remove the bottlenecks constraining mobile networks and help deliver universal broadband coverage.

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU), the leading network technology group, has joined forces with industry partners to develop lightRadio™, a new system that signals the end of the mobile industry’s reliance on masts and base stations around the world.

Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “Today’s and tomorrow’s demands for coverage and capacity require a breakthrough in mobile communications.”

He added: “lightRadio will signal the end of the basestation and the cell tower as we know it today.”

Governments and regulatory bodies are expected to welcome the technical development, which will help meet targets for universal broadband access by laying the foundation to address the so-called “digital divide.”

Other major benefits from lightRadio™ include:

  • Shrinking the carbon footprint of mobile networks by over 50%
  • Reducing the Total-Cost-of-Ownership of mobile operators by up to 50%
  • Improving end user services by significantly increasing bandwidth per user thanks to the deployment of small antennas everywhere

Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless Division said: “lightRadio will help mobile operators evolve their networks to address the mobile broadband deluge.”

lightRadio represents a new approach where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network.

lightRadio also shrinks today’s clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered antenna that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection.

The innovation coincides with growing demand for third-and-fourth generation mobile networks and devices, involving the mass adoption of wireless television services and other forms of broadband content. The total addressable market for the radio technology necessary to serve such networks and devices is expected to exceed €100bnover the next seven years.

Alcatel-Lucent announced the lightRadio™ technical specifications and launch timetable at an industry event in London today. Visit http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/lightradiofor product press release and link to event replay (available at 2:30 GMT).

[1] This is the total addressable market for multi-technology radio solutions that consist of radio access base stations that simultaneously support 2G, 3G, and LTE, and multiple frequencies in the same platform

Freescale introduces industry’s first multimode wireless base station processor family that scales from small to large cells [Feb 14, 2011]

Freescale Semiconductor – the communications processing leader and provider of industry-leading DSP technology – is transforming the future of wireless infrastructure equipment with the introduction of a highly integrated base station-on-chip portfolio built on advanced heterogeneous multicore technology. Freescale’s new QorIQ Qonverge seriesis the first scalable family of products sharing the same architecture to address multi-standard requirements spanning from small to large cells.

The explosion of smart connected devices with increasing data and video content has created a mobile data tsunami, requiring OEMs and carriers to dramatically boost network performance while controlling capital expenditure costs, increasing power efficiency and supporting the emergence of 4G technologies.

The QorIQ Qonverge portfolio of base station-on-chip products is based on a common architecture and integrates communications processing, digital signal processing and wireless acceleration technologies into a single system-on-chip in various configurations optimized for next-generation femtocell, picocell, metrocell and macrocell base stations. Advanced process technology and exceptional integration allow the convergence of multiple functions traditionally performed on separate FPGAs, ASICs, DSPs and processors to be incorporated on a single device. This integration lowers part counts and delivers significant power, cost and footprint reductions for base stations. The common architecture spanning from femto cells to macro cells optimizes R&D investments and software reuse.

“The current explosion in mobile data traffic worldwide provides unique challenges and opportunities for wireless infrastructure equipment providers as they race to increase capacity and capability,” said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group. “Freescale’s highly integrated QorIQ Qonverge portfolio enables base station manufacturers to provide a dramatic, step-function improvement in performance, power and cost in a single, flexible architecture.”

QorIQ Qonverge technology can deliver 4x cost reduction and 3x power reduction for LTE + WCDMA macro base stations, and 4x cost and power reductions for LTE + WCDMA pico base stationswhen compared to wireless infrastructure equipment powered by discrete silicon products.

“By integrating multiple industry-leading technologies into one scalable product line, Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge portfolio delivers significant innovation that advances the state of wireless networking at this pivotal time for the industry,” said Will Strauss, president and principal analyst of Forward Concepts. “The QorIQ Qonverge portfolio presents a unique solution and strengthens Freescale’s position as a processing technology leader in the wireless infrastructure space.”

Freescale leveraged its broad R&D scale, deep application knowledge of the wireless space and extensive IP portfolio to develop the new product family. QorIQ Qonverge processors combine multiple Power Architecture® cores and high-performance StarCore DSPs with a MAPLE multimode baseband accelerator, packet processing acceleration engines, interconnect fabric and next-node process technology. The portfolio’s products support multiple standards, including GSM, LTE – FDD & TDD, LTE-Advanced, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA and WiMAX. In addition, the family’s flexible architecture allows support for evolving standards with software upgrades.

“Freescale’s innovative QorIQ Qonverge platform provides the integration, performance, energy efficiency and unmatched scalability that our new lightRadio™ product portfolio requires,” said Wim Sweldens, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless Division. “Game-changing products like lightRadio disaggregate the base station between the network and the wideband active antenna, produce dramatic cost savings and need components that provide giant leaps forward such as Freescale’s new QorIQ Qonverge technology.”

“Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge product line gives us the flexibility to cost-effectively address the widest possible small cell market by providing a common architecture and multimode capabilities, along with the programmability for us to incorporate our own advancements,” said Michael Clark, Airvana’s general manager for femtocell business. “We look forward to working with Freescale to help accelerate the deployment of small cells in next-generation wireless networks.”

According to analyst firm Infonetics, radio access network base station spending is projected to be $197 billion worldwide over the next four years.

Complete solutions

Customers can develop best-of-breed solutions with ease by combining their own differentiated IP with off-the-shelf components from Freescale and ecosystem partners. Freescale has assembled a rich ecosystem of technology leaders focused on wireless applications. Products and services from these partners can be combined with third party tools, as well as Freescale’s CodeWarrior technologies and VortiQa application software. This ecosystem can provide ODMs and OEMs Layer 1 – 4 software, transport and security stacks, RF technologies, test and measurement capabilities and ODM solutions.

A development platform based on the P2020-MSC8156 AMC bundled with partner software and RF solutions is available immediately for rapid software development. In addition, Freescale offers a wide portfolio of GaAs MMICs and LDMOS RF solutions for consumer and enterprise pico and femto cells.

QorIQ Qonverge products

The QorIQ Qonverge portfolio includes four distinct products optimized for small cell (femto and pico) and large cell (metro and macro) applications. It also supports remote radio head and emerging cloud-based radio access network (C-RAN) configurations.

The first products in Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge multicore portfolio are built in 45-nm process technology and planned for availability in the second half of 2011. The products are the PSC9130/PSC9131 femto SoCs and PSC9132 picocell/enterprise femto SoC devices. Freescale plans to introduce portfolio members targeting larger cell (metro and macro) base stations built in 28-nm process technology later this year.

PSC9130/31 Femto SoC

      8-16 users (WCDMA, LTE, CDMA2K) and simultaneous multimode
      2×2 MiMO
      1x e500 and 1x SC3850
      MAPLE-B2F acceleration

PSC9132 Pico/Enterprise Femto SoC

      32-64 users (WCDMA, LTE) and simultaneous multimode
      2×4 MiMO
      2x e500 and 2x SC3850
      MAPLE-B2P acceleration

About Freescale Semiconductor

Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing and sales operations around the world. www.freescale.com.

Supporting Partner Quotes Follow

Enea “Enea currently provides a breadth of leading software solutions to support Freescale’s extensive portfolio of networking IP,” said Marcus Hjortsberg, vice president of Marketing for Enea. “We look forward to playing a role in unleashing the innovative capabilities of Freescale’s new QorIQ Qonverge hybrid multicore portfolio.”

Green Hills “With a long history of optimized support for Freescale’s multicore and multiprocessor platforms, we are excited to see Freescale’s next-generation wireless base station solution,” said Dan Mender, vice president of Business Development, Green Hills Software. “QorIQ customers use our multicore development tools and scalable real-time operating systems, MULTI and INTEGRITY, to conquer today’s multicore challenges and we look forward to supporting them as they adopt the QorIQ Qonverge portfolio.”

Mentor Graphics “The integration of StarCore DSP technology with Power Architecture cores in the new Freescale QorIQ Qonverge portfolio is a major advancement for the wireless industry. We see great potential for this class of heterogeneous multi-core designs,” said Glenn Perry, general manager of the Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division. “The Mentor Embedded Linux platform for Freescale devices combined with CodeSourcery software development tools will enable our mutual customers to develop advanced, innovative and scalable systems with increased performance and power efficiency.”

Aricent “We are thrilled to be partnering with Freescale to accelerate development of new best-in-class solutions in the wireless infrastructure market,” said C.P. Murali, executive vice president and general manager at Aricent. “Our comprehensive suite of software frameworks and product engineering services enable customers to rapidly introduce innovative solutions based on Qonverge technology.”

Continuous Computing “We are proud to be a member of Freescale’s technology partner program and for Freescale to be a member of the Continuous Computing Network,” said Todd Mersch, director of Product Line Management at Continuous Computing. “Together we offer customers a complete range of femto to macro base station solutions consisting of Trillium wireless software and the latest advances in the QorIQ Qonverge portfolio of processors.”

Critical Blue ”Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge platform is architecturally very innovative. Meeting next-generation network speed requirements will require software developers to make knowledgeable choices in application partitioning and task allocation to the different types of cores on these platforms,” said David Stewart, chief executive officer of CriticalBlue. “The development program we have ongoing with Freescale will ensure that our Prism tool has all the capabilities needed to support a smart methodology for software developers, enabling them to get the maximum benefit from targeting the QorIQ Qonverge platform.”

L&T Infotech “L&T Infotech is excited to collaborate and build world-class wireless solutions based on Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge portfolio,” said Sudip Banerjee, chief executive officer for L&T Infotech. “Our end-to-end telecom proficiency spans the entire wireless domain, with proven expertise on LTE/WiMAX, multicore technologies, network security and optical transport networks, ultimately enabling accelerated time-to-market for our client’s products.”

Signalion “We are pleased to support Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge portfolio with our world-class wireless test technologies to ensure high-performance equipment, service and end-user experiences,” said Tim Hentschel, managing director for Signalion GmbH. “Freescale is charting new territory with the QorIQ Qonverge hybrid portfolio that promises to transform the future of wireless infrastructure equipment.”

Tata-Elxsi “The introduction of theQorIQ Qonverge portfolio means OEMs now have a single-architecture, compatible family of products to address all their base station design needs,” said Shyam Ananthnarayan, head of the Communications Business Unit at Tata Elxsi. “As a key member of Freescale’s rich ecosystem, Tata Elxsi will offer market-leading LTE eNodeB software stacks optimized to ease customers’ development of best-of-breed solutions based on Qonverge technology.”

Wireless support and network functions converge in QorIQ Qonverge processors [By Tom Thompson, June 16, 2011]

Wireless communication seems ubiquitous these days–until you wander into a dead zone and lose the network connection to your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Telco carriers are working hard to eliminate such areas by installing more macrocell towers. Sometimes installing one of those big bruisers in an area isn’t possible, so the carriers fill in the coverage gaps by scaling down. Scaling down in this case means building smaller wireless installations, such as microcell (also known as metrocell), picocell, and femtocell base stations.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that deploying such a diverse array of gear can be a nightmare, both in terms of hardware design, embedded software development, and support. Every base station has various wireless formats to manage, and the smaller base stations must also implement certain wired backhaul technologies such as Ethernet and ET/T1 so that they can connect to the carrier’s infrastructure. One way to alleviate this headache of multiple base station designs is to reduce the different types of hardware used. For this scheme to work, however, the signal processing capabilities of a DSP and the networking functions of an application processor must converge into one unified part.

Freescale happens to be well-positioned to provide such a converged solution. First, the company makes its StarCore DSPs, which are 32-bit multicore processors engineered for high data processing throughput and support for a variety of wireless protocols. Second, the company makes high-performance network processors, notably those that comprise its QorIQ Processing Platform. These are 32-bit processors based on a low-power, high-performance Power Architecture core that manages several high-speed communications interfaces. Variants of both the StarCore and Power Architecture families feature fewer cores or lack hardware accelerators, which enable them to hit a specific price point or power consumption target.

Freescale’s convergence strategy is simple in concept, yet presented an engineering challenge. First, you take the core subsystems of these two processors and place them on a single chip. Next, surround the cores with a bevy of enhanced communications interfaces. Finally, knit all of these elements together with a high-speed switching fabric. The result is the QorIQ Qonverge processor, a system that is essentially a base station on a chip. Let’s delve deeper into the microarchitecture of the QorIQ Qonverge and see how it offers a comprehensive solution.

A Tale of Two Processors

The block diagram in Figure 1 depicts the major logic blocks that make up the QorIQ Qonverge PSC3191E, a part suitable for femtocell and picocell base station designs. Figure 1

Figure: Block diagram of the QorIQ Qonverge PSC9131E processor.

The StarCore subsystem consists of an SC3850 DSP core that has six execution units (four data ALUs, and two address units) that operate in parallel to retire six instructions simultaneously per clock. The ALUs support integer and fractional arithmetic, including multiply-accumulate (MAC) and other sophisticated instructions. The core is therefore capable of reading, processing, and writing a continuous stream of data. The subsystem has its own internal L1/L2 caches, an MMU, an interrupt controller, and timers.

The Power Architecture subsystem consists of an e500 core, which is a superscalar processor with multiple execution units that can issue and retire two instructions per clock cycle. It has its own internal L1/L2 caches, an interrupt controller, and timers.

Each core has separate 32 KB instruction and data caches to reduce latency and boost throughput. The Harvard architecture implementation of these caches requires more transistors, but it helps to ensure that the cores receive a continuous stream of data and instructions. The unified L2 caches can be configured so that a portion of them acts as a low-latency L2 memory for time-critical data or variable storage.

Both subsystems would grind to a halt if they could not access memory or peripheral devices rapidly. To minimize this bottleneck, a high-performance communications interface, known as the Chip-Level Arbitration and Switching System (CLASS) fabric was used. This high-bandwidth, low-latency switching fabric is a fully-pipelined, device interconnect that provides direct access to the resources of the subsystems and on-chip peripherals.

The DMA engine, which can be programmed by either core, uses the CLASS fabric to manage data transfers. It has four bidirectional channels. Off-chip memory is accessed through a DDR memory controller. The controller supports DDR3/DDR3L devices, and can manage a 32-bit interface at a maximum 800 MHz data rate.

Hardware Gives a Hand

As you can see, the QorIQ Qonverge processor is one busy piece of silicon. Among its many duties is to process various wireless formats and encrypt communications sessions. These wireless and encryption algorithms are complex and require substantial processing power. While they can be done in software, the QorIQ Qonverge processor has dedicated execution units that can off-load the computational demands of these algorithms from the core subsystems.

The Multi Accelerator Platform Engine for Femto BaseStation Baseband Processing (MAPLE-B2F) unit provides hardware acceleration for baseband algorithms such as channel decoding/encoding, UTMS chip rate processing, and LTE uplink/downlink processing. It also accelerates the computation of Fourier transforms, matrix inversions, CRC algorithms, convolution and filtering operations, Turbo encoding/decoding, and Viterbi decoding. It is a second-generation design that builds upon an established predecessor used in certain StarCore DSPs.

For encryption duties there is the security engine, a cryptographic and assurance acceleration unit. It uses a job queue interface that can schedule multiple cryptographic tasks in parallel, and its multiple accelerators can be shared among different applications. In concert with the DMA engine, this module can use scatter/gather operations to collect data that is distributed throughout memory. The module has hardware accelerators for public key, message digest, ARC four, SNOW 3G f8 and f9, and Katsumi cryptographic operations. It also has accelerators that manage DES, AES, and CRC operations, and it supports a variety of cryptographic authentication schemes.

Note that acceleration capabilities are not limited exclusively to these particular modules. Other modules can accelerate a subset of their functions. For example, the Ethernet controller can off-load and accelerate certain TCP/IP stack operations such as IP header recognition and checksum, plus TCP/UDP checksum and verification.

Smart Controllers

The PSC9131E has several controllers that manage complex I/O operations concurrently. The Antenna Interface Controller (AIC), as its name implies, handles transactions between the processor and an external Radio Frequency (RF) subsystem. It supports CDMA, WCDMA-DD, LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, and GSM (receive only) network modes. Data received from the transceiver is reformatted and stored by the AIC into system memory or in the MAPLE-B2F unit. Data to be transmitted is transferred by DMA to the AIC where it frames the data for the proper network format and sends it to the transceiver. The AIC can handle up to a maximum of four data lanes, depending upon the wireless format in use.

The Ethernet controller features two enhanced Gigabit Ethernet interfaces that can operate at speeds of 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps. These interfaces are IEEE 802.3, 802.3u, 820.3x, 802.3z, 802.3ac, and 802.3ab compliant. As mentioned previously, the controller can accelerate the identification and retrieval of standard and non-standard protocols present on the Ethernet connection.

The USB controller is USB revision 2.0 compliant and can function as both a host and a device controller. As a host, it supports low-, full-, and high-speed transfer rates. It contains its own DMA engine that reduces the interrupt load on the processor and minimizes the bus bandwidth necessary to service any USB transactions.

In summary, these several controllers provide sophisticated wireless, Ethernet, and USB services, yet without adding a considerable burden to the processor’s operation, especially when it is conducting network/wireless routing.

Ports Aplenty

The PSC9131E provides a number of ports that enable you to connect a large cast of supporting peripherals to the processor. These are:

  • Enhanced SPI
  • Two DUARTs
  • Integrated Flash memory Controller (IFC)
  • Two I2C controllers
  • General-Purpose I/O (GPIO) interface with 32 bidirectional ports
  • Universal Subscriber Identity Module (USIM) interface for communicating with a SIM card
  • PWM optimized to generate sound
  • Enhanced Secured Digital Host Controller (eSDHC) for interfacing to SD/SDIO/MMC cards

As a unit, QorIQ Qonverge processors represent a fusion of many existing, field-proven Freescale technologies. However, the resulting processor is far greater than the sum of its parts. Since the QorIQ Qonverge processor implements the level-1, -2, and -3 processing layers required for network/wireless communications on-chip, it only lacks some external hardware, such as a power supply, flash memory, DRAM, Ethernet line-driver and a RF transceiver to implement a stand-alone femtocell or picocell base station. It is designed to replace both the DSP and the applications processors at the heart of many such base station designs, as shown in Figure 2. By doing so, the QorIQ Qonverge part can reduce complexity, processing latencies, and the bill of materials for a base station design.

Figure 2. The QorIQ Qonverge-based picocell design (bottom) uses fewer parts than a design based on separate DSP and application processors (top).

A Processor for Many Uses

The QorIQ Qonverge processor isn’t limited to short-range base stations, however. It can also scale up: Multicore variants can support microcell and macrocell base station designs. This allows you to assemble a range of base station designs around one part.

Besides simplifying the base station design, the QorIQ Qonverge processor also allows you to reuse existing software. For example, existing StarCore MSC8156 DSP code and P2020 application code can be migrated to the QorIQ Qonverge processor, since the cores are nearly identical. The same CodeWarrior tool suite for StarCore DSPs and CodeWarrior tools for Power Architecture can be used to write and debug the software. Furthermore, the code written for–say, a picocell base station–can be reused in microcell and macrocell base station designs. Revising the code for a multicore processor can be tricky, but you can start the process with the knowledge that the application code was stress-tested on smaller base stations. Also, Freescale’s partner, CriticalBlue, has a multicore simulation tool to assist you in this process for Power Architecture-based software. All of this adds up to be a comprehensive solution for embedded base station designs.

Turn the lightRadio on [March 8, 2011]

Development hopes to double network capacity while halving power consumption. By Roy Rubenstein.

Mobile operators face significant challenges, given the rapid growth in mobile broadband traffic. They are starting to roll out the latest mobile technology, Long Term Evolution (LTE), as yet another overlay alongside the existing wideband CDMA and GSM networks. Mobile sites are thus being crammed with antennas and basestation equipment.

The cellular network is 30 years old,” said Tom Gruba, marketing director for wireless activities at Alcatel-Lucent. “You cannot just keep adding more basestations in the network to solve the [data] capacity problem; the business model doesn’t work.” Alcatel-Lucent’s solution is lightRadio, which moves the processing power to the antenna or into the network, like cloud computing. The system vendor points out that architecture change is being industry led; what Alcatel-Lucent is claiming is that the lightRadio portfolio of products is the first to support the new architecture.

Announced in the run up to Mobile World Congress 2011, lightRadio promises to double network capacity, while halving power consumption. The lightRadio products include a wideband active array antenna that integrates the amplifier and antenna elements, a radio SoC developed with Freescale, and a multimode radio controller platform being developed with HP. Integrating the amplifier alongside the antenna achieves better coupling of the signal to the antenna. Less power is wasted, such that a smaller amplifier can be used.

Alcatel-Lucent - lightRadio The wideband active array antenna is implemented as a 6cm cube, pictured left. The wideband operation covers 400 to 4000MHz, allowing one cube to support 700MHz and 2600MHz bands. “These can be stacked, depending on how much power is needed, and you can have two or three columns to serve two or three frequencies and any technologies you want,” said Gruba.

Being an active design, the antenna boosts cell capacity through beam forming and multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) technology. Combining the amplifier-antenna with the radio chip forms a compact basestation that can be mounted on masts or within buildings. Such a combined baseband/remote radio head takes little space and avoids the need for air conditioned cooling associated with traditional basestations.

LightRadio will also enable a cloud computing style radio network architecture, where the basestation is separated from the antenna-amplifier. Traditionally, the radio amplifier was connected to the baseband via a backplane. The advent of the remote radio head led to the creation of the common public radio interface (CPRI) to connect the amplifier at the antenna with the baseband unit. With a cloud based radio network, basestations from 25 or 30 cell sites could be placed in a facility up to 40km away, with the CPRI signal carried over an optical link.

Alcatel-Lucent estimates the maximum lightRadio bit stream needed to be carried over the CPRI link is 10Gbit/s. Compression technology will reduce this by a factor of three, so operators can avoid installing a dedicated 10Gbit optical link. At the core of the baseband processing is the SoC developed with Freescale.

“Dimensioning the various aspects of the SoC is critical,” said Preet Virk, Freescale’s director, networking segment. The SoC design uses Freescale’s recently announced QorIQ Qonverge technology that supports designs spanning femtocells to macro basestations. Two devices have been announced – for femtocells and picocells – that are implemented using a 45nm cmos process. Alcatel-Lucent’s radio ic will be implemented in 28nm cmos and will be available from 2012.

Freescale is not willing to detail the basestation SoC yet, but the scalable design uses cores and IP blocks that are shipping in Freescale products, such as the e500 Power Architecture core and the StarCore SC3850 dsp as well as baseband acceleration blocks.

“Scalability comes in many forms,” said Barry Stern, Freescale’s baseband DSP & SoC products, marketing manager, wireless access division, networking and multimedia group. “From a few users to hundreds of users; from 1.25 to 20MHz bandwidths and beyond; simultaneous multimode support; and enabling OEMs to use the same software across different basestation designs, saving on development costs.”

Freescale’s femtocell SoC supports 8 to 16 users and uses an e500 core and a dsp core. The picocell SoC supports 32 to 64 users and uses two e500s and two dsp cores. Freescale’s metro and macro cell SoCs will support hundreds of users, requiring multiple dsp and cpu cores. Other features will include several DDR3 memory controllers; baseband acceleration for turbo coding, fast Fourier transforms and MIMO; and interfaces for Ethernet, PCI Express and CPRI, according to Virk.

“The SoC in the cloud is going to give us the ability to do all sorts of new things,” said Tod Sizer, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs’ wireless research domain.

Intercell communication

Having baseband processors concentrated at one location enables intercell communication. One application is Coordinated Multipoint (CoMP), what Alcatel-Lucent calls networked MIMO, which will be a feature of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) Release 10 cellular standard.

Currently, only one cell serves a user, even if the user is commonly near the cell edge and is sensed by adjacent cells. With CoMP, MIMO technology can be used such that different streams are transmitted between the basestations and the user, boosting throughput. And it is this technique, says Alcatel-Lucent, which will double overall capacity.

The cloud like architecture will also enable new uses that benefit energy consumption. “One we are going to see in the coming years is coordination on the basis of energy usage,” said Sizer, citing how, for example, all users could be moved to the 3G network, with the LTE basestations turned off to save power, based on time of day and subscriber requirements. “You have that capability of moving users if you have control of both technologies from a single cloud,” said Sizer.

Power consumption has become a key issue for operators, with the likes of France Telecom looking to reduce the energy consumption in its network by 15% by 2020. In turn, US operator Verizon stipulates that each new piece of equipment must be at least 20% more energy efficient than its predecessor if it is to be deployed. Alcatel-Lucent is developing a virtualised radio controller architecture as part of the portfolio, working with HP to consolidate three generations of radio controllers into one platform. In GSM, the basestation controller (BSC) connects to multiple cell sites, while a radio network controller (RNC) is used in 3G.

“If I make the BSC or RNC a software routine, the software becomes independent of the platform and I can put both functions in one box,” said Gruba. Alcatel Lucent is basing the design on an ATCA version 2 based general purpose processor design, while HP is providing server and virtualisation expertise to the controller design. Alcatel-Lucent expects to be trialling the wideband active array antenna in the autumn before it becomes commercially available in 2012.

The remaining lightRadio elements will appear from 2012 onwards. Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst at the Yankee Group, says lightRadio is arguably the most important wireless equipment development made by Alcatel-Lucent since its 2006 merger. However, he points out that other vendors are pursuing comparable strategies that might challenge much of the lightRadio vision.

lightRadio: hideous cell towers to get smaller, lose the “hut” [Feb 2011]

Cell TowerEven when they’re disguised like fake trees or church steeples, cell towers are ugly. Most have a hut at the bottom, stuffed with baseband processing gear that does the hard work of creating and decoding, say, an LTE signal. These huts often contain signal amplifiers, big units that push power up the tower to the actual antennas—and half the signal is lost just moving through the tower’s wiring. At the top, rectangular antennas bristle from the tower. One set might be for 2G support, one for 3G, and another for 4G.

Alcatel-Lucent, one of the world’s biggest wireless gear makers, turned to its Bell Labs research division to rethink this aging architecture. First step: apply the “data center” model of centralization to baseband processing and consolidate all that rack-mounted hardware into a few locations per city, each connected to the towers it serves by fiber optic cable.

Right now, a cell tower fault might require a truck roll and a drive through traffic. When the tech gets to the tower site, it might turn out to be at the top of a hotel, and permission to access it must be obtained from the site manager. Put all the processing gear in a single remote location, however, and repairs to it get cheaper and faster.

Clustering the baseband units also makes it easier to do load balancing across a region. When commuters are driving into work, for instance, the baseband cluster can turn its combined energy to handling the signal load coming from towers along the highways and train lines. During the day, processing could handle heavy downtown traffic, while it shifts focus to the suburbs in the evening. Such load-balancing doesn’t produce any additional spectrum or data throughput, but it does mean that a carrier can operate fewer baseband processors, saving the carrier cash.

The third advantage to centralizing the baseband processors is that the interconnection fabric between them can operate at high speeds, fast enough to support a standard called CoMP, or Co-ordinated Multipoint. CoMP, which is currently moving through standardization, relies on the fact that, in many locations, a user’s wireless gadget is in range of multiple towers (the closer one comes to the edge of each cell, the more towers can typically see the device).

This is usually a waste, since multiple towers spend bandwidth contacting the gadget but can’t independently deliver different data. CoMP turns it into a bonus by dividing up requested download data and using all cells in the area to deliver a different slice of it at once—akin to the way BitTorrent operates. The phone then combines the data from all the towers in the proper order. This additive approach to using different towers means that a user’s total throughput can go up substantially, but it requires centralized baseband to function.

Finally, the new lightRadio baseband bear can do software-defined protocols. Upgrading to LTE? Just upgrade the software on the baseband processor. (Traditional rack-mounted baseband processors required dedicated units for each protocol.) A new baseband chip from Freescale makes it possible, but it gets even cooler when used in conjunction with the new wideband antennas.

LightRadio uses a new antenna that, in Alcatel-Lucent’s words, collapses three radios into one. The radios are tiny cubes of 2.5 inches square, and each can operate between 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz. They use tiny amps that can be located atop the tower, built into the antenna enclosure, which keeps the amp size down and dramatically cuts down on the power loss.

These radio cubes are stacked in groups of 8 to 10 in order to make an antenna element, and when one cube in the array goes down, the others remain unaffected. (In a traditional system, the whole antenna unit would fail.) The amps cover enough different frequencies that, in many cases, simply changing the software configuration on the baseband unit can control whether each antenna offers a 2G, 3G, or 4G signal.

The antennas also do “beam forming”—fine-grained directional control over the radio signal—in both the horizontal and vertical dimension to better connect with local wireless devices. Alcatel-Lucent claims capacity improvements of 30 percent through the use of vertical beam-forming alone.

The end result of the system: lightRadio cell towers don’t need huts, they don’t need air conditioners and heaters, big amps, fans, or even local processing gear. Baseband processing moves closer to the data center model and gets cool new capabilities like CoMP and load-balancing. The system’s cost savings come from power (Alcatel-Lucent claims a 50 percent reduction), along with lower construction and site rental fees. The total macro capacity of the system should double while cutting operator costs dramatically.

Though it will take months for any carrier to roll out this or similar gear, advances like lightRadio are crucial as wireless usage continues to soar and smartphones break out of the enterprise and the technorati and into the mainstream. And by making cell infrastructure smaller, cheaper, and less power-hungry, this sort of gear brings wireless networking into reach of more people, especially in rural areas and developing countries.

Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio™ portfolio wins NGN magazine leadership award for transforming mobile broadband networks [May 19, 2011]

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced that its lightRadio portfolio was recognized as the outstanding new achievement in broadband Internet communications by the leading industry magazine NGN, as part of its NGN Leadership Awards contest. The awards program recognizes outstanding products, services and technologies relating to next generation networks.

“This award underlines the sweeping impact our lightRadio portfolio is having on the wireless communications industry,” said Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless activities.  “lightRadio isn’t just redefining the shape of the wireless base station, it also offers a compelling vision for what wireless networks will look like in the future.”

“This award for Alcatel-Lucent’s LightRadio is a great testament to their innovation.  They have brought to market a solution designed to solve the most critical issues facing the wireless industry, starting with the quasi impossibility to add new sites to increase capacity and improve coverage,” said Stéphane Téral, Principal Analyst, Mobile and FMC Infrastructure, Infonetics.

lightRadio™ is a new product offering from Alcatel-Lucent that will dramatically reduce operating costs, technical complexity and power consumption in mobile broadband networks. Designed to meet the long-term needs of mobile operators seeking to ensure their networks can handle increasing traffic loads, lightRadio radically shrinks and simplifies today’s base stations.

The lightRadio portfolio is designed to increase network capacity while simultaneously reducing the cost of delivery, on a per bit basis. The overarching goal is to give operators more options and a flexible path forward for the next decade.  By increasing the capacity at a reduced cost the operators can pursue a whole new market segment, the mass market. In addition, being able to use the lightRadio cube technology in various forms means Small Cells can leverage the technology and rural villages can get wireless coverage at lower costs helping to cross the digital divide.

lightRadio promises greener, simpler, lighter networks, and the benefits are substantial, including:

  • 50% reduction in total cost-per-bit as compared to 3G when adding a comparable amount of capacity
  • 50% reduction in energy consumption when compared to conventional ground based solutions
  • Small and easily deployable – can be deployed anywhere there is a power source and broadband connection and deals with less zoning restrictions
  • Nearly invisible – the WB-AAA is two products in one. It’s adding another radio in the same size form factor with no additional lease cost or further pollution of the urban skyline.

The Alcatel-Lucent “lightRadio” product family is composed of the Wideband Active Array Antenna, the Multiband Remote Radio Head, the “lightRadio” Baseband Processing, the “lightRadio” Control, and the 5620 SAM common management.  The Wideband Active Array Antenna will be trialed later this year and have broad product availability in 2012. For more information on the lightRadio portfolio please click here.

Bell Labs lightRadio™ Breakthroughs [Feb 7, 2011]

The world of mobile communications moves fast. With new mobile devices, new applications and ever-growing and changing consumer demands the wireless networks in use today have to evolve. Rather than take an incremental approach to meet these challenges, Bell Labs took a leap and developed a radically new approach to wireless technology. In order to do this, Tod Sizer, head of Bell Labs Wireless Research, challenged his team to think not just “outside the box,” but to think “inside the cube.” In six short months, the team developed a cube-shaped antenna that would fit in the palm of a hand– and was ready to test it with customers.

Tod Sizer, Head of Wireless Research for Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, talks about developing the lightRadio antenna module. lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network. Additionally today’s clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems are combined and shrunk into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered multi frequency, multi standard Wideband Active Array Antenna that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection.

“There are many different types and sizes of base stations, from very small to very large, depending on where they are located, such as in an urban or rural area,” explained Sizer. “I realized that we needed to design a new and flexible type of antenna array for different environments– including one designed to the smallest possible size – ‘invisible antennas’ – in order to be flexible enough to meet the growing needs of all of our wireless service provider customers.”

A radio antenna element is a component of an antenna system that transmits signals from the wireless base station to a wireless end-user using a mobile phone, smart device or laptop. By reducing the size of the element itself, an antenna array can be scaled to fit any wireless need simply by adding more of these elements to the array.

Bell Labs wireless researchers weren’t daunted by the challenge of building something that was roughly ten percent of its current size. Several wireless research teams in Stuttgart and Ireland focused on different aspects of the problem, combining their unique areas of expertise to quickly resolve a myriad of technical challenges to reduce the antenna element’s size, improve energy efficiency and lower manufacturing expenses. The clever architecture of this new antenna is but one of the innovations critical to realizing Alcatel-Lucent’s unique lightRadio portfolio.

“We believe this unique antenna – as part of the lightRadio solution – will have a significant impact in the wireless space,” concluded Sizer.

Quick Links

Wim Sweldens presents lightRadio, a breakthrough for the mobile industry [Feb 7, 2011]

Wim Sweldens, President, Alcatel-Lucent wireless activities, talks about lightRadio™, a new system that signals the end of the mobile industry’s reliance on masts and base stations around the world. lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network. Additionally today’s clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems are combined and shrunk into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered multi frequency, multi standard Wideband Active Array Antenna that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection. More info: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/lightradio

Alcatel-Lucent. Cube light Radio [Feb 18, 2011]

Highlights of lightRadio press conference [London, Feb. 7th, 2011]

Presentation of the lightRadio system which will dramatically reduce technical complexity and contain power consumption and other operating costs in the face of sharp traffic growth. This is accomplished by taking today’s base stations and massive cell site towers, typically the most expensive, power hungry, and difficult to maintain elements in the network, and radically shrinking and simplifying them. Conference guests: Stephen Carter, Wim Sweldens, Tod Sizer and Javier Garcia Gomez (Alcatel-Lucent), Lisa Su (Freescale) and Joe Weinman (HP).

The ZTE way of capitalizing on the LTE opportunity

Recommeded prelimary reading:
Mobile Internet (Aug’11) [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

Updates: – China Mobile reportedly to obtain 4G license in December 2012 [Feb 10, 2012]

The China government reportedly will issue 4G licenses earlier than originally expected in December 2012 and China Mobile may be the first to obtain a license and adopt TD-LTE (Time Division-Long Term Evolution) as a 4G standard with commercial operation to begin in 2014, according to China-based media.

China government not expected to issue TD-LTE operating license for the time being [Jan 16, 2012]

While China Mobile has been actively promoting TD-LTE, the China government is not expected to issue a TD-LTE operating license to China Mobile for the time being, according to industry sources.

China Mobile finished initial TD-LTE trials in seven selected cities in China around the end of 2011 and has proposed a second-round of trials, but the China government has not yet approved the plans, signaling the government’s attitude to slow down promotion of TD-LTE in China, the sources indicated.

This is because 3G mobile communication services are taking off in the China market and therefore the government does not want to issue a TD-LTE operating license out of consideration for China Telecom and China Unicom, the sources said.

End of updates

Interview with ZTE President and CEO Shi Lirong during the GSMA Board Metting in Malaysia [ZTEGlobal , Aug 1, 2011]

Mr. Shi Lirong, 46, is an Executive Director and the President of ZTE Corporation since April, 2010. He served as an Executive Vice President of ZTE Corporation from 1999 to March 2010 responsible for managing the Company’s sales and business development operations. Mr. Shi held the post of Vice President at Zhongxingxin Telecommunications Equipment Company, Limited (the “Zhongxingxin”), during 1993 – 1997. Zhongxingxin is controlling shareholder of ZTE. In Feb 2001, he was appointed as Executive Director of ZTE Corporation. Combined with more than 19 years of management skills, Mr. Shi has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the telecommunications industry. Mr. Shi holds 200,283 A shares of ZTE. Mr. Shi holds a Master’s degree in Telecommunication and Electronic System Engineering from Tsinghua University, and a Master’s degree in Engineering, specializing in Telecommunications and Electronic Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). FROM: http://wwwen.zte.com.cn/en/press_center/news/201004/t20100408_181868.html

Hi3G and ZTE Jointly Announce the Availability of World’s First LTE FDD/TDD Dual-mode Commercial Network [ZTE press release, Dec 15, 2011]

ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, in collaboration with Swedish carrier Hi3G, has announced that the world’s first commercial LTE FDD/TDD dual-mode network has gone live in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo.

Hi3G is committed to upgrading its network to enhance the subscriber experience with significantly faster radio access speeds and a much more extensive range of data services. Hi3G signed this LTE network contract with ZTE, in March 2011, to cover the whole of Sweden.

Jörgen Askeroth, CTO of Hi3G, commented: “This network fully indicates the practical use of the mature LTE multi-mode convergent solution. It allows us to extend the partnership with ZTE.”

Mr. Wang Shouchen, VP of ZTE said: “With the advent of the NMT in 1981, the people in the Nordic region were the first to benefit from genuine cellular coverage. Thirty years on, they will be the first users to benefit from the services delivered by the world’s first dual-mode 4G network. And they can roam to other LTE networks all over the world. It is not only high speed wireless services that new technology brings, for Hi3G this is also an opportunity to evolve the network.”

This commercial dual-mode network will greatly enhance the network performance of Hi3G and provide better service experience to local users. The network roll out enables Hi3G to significantly reduce its total cost of ownership by adopting a whole new generation of green energy-saving base stations. As Hi3G improves its competitiveness, more and more “affordable and easy advanced services” will be available to Hi3G subscribers.

ZTE Roadshow Germany [Sept 18, 2011]

ZTE, E-Plus and China Mobile Reveal Industry’s First TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna [ZTE press release, Dec 19, 2011]

ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, German carrier E-Plus and China Mobile, all members of the Next Generation Mobile Network Alliance (NGMN), have publicly demonstrated the industry’s first TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna which is approximately half the size of traditional TD-LTE solutionson the market.

Mr. Wang Shouchen, VP of ZTE says: “At present, spectral resources are very scarce all over the world. More and more European operators are showing interest in TD-LTE. However, the size of traditional TDD smart antennas can make installation a real challenge and push CAPEX up significantly. The TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna is half the size of traditional TD-LTE antenna and reduces the cost and time taken for installation.”

The TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna was showcased at NGMN’s Multi-Antenna Technology Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany. The demo showed a peak rate of 8Mbps at the cell edge with beam forming technology on 10MHz bandwidth.

The TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna showcase follows successful field trials between ZTE, E-Plus and China Mobile, in 2011, that consisted of several streams investigating the capabilities of ZTE’s commercial SDR equipment and best use of the spectrum holdings of E-Plus in 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz and 2.6 GHz, both TD-LTE and LTE FDD.

Zhu Xiao Dong, CTO of European Marketing, ZTE [LTEWorldSeries , Nov 15, 2011]

Zhu Xiao Dong, CTO of European Marketing at ZTE discusses his thoughts at 2011’s LTE World Summit in Amsterdam (May 17 – 18).

ZTE Wins Informa LTE Award for Best Enabling Technology [ZTE press release, Nov 21, 2011]

imageZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, today announced its ZXSDR BS8920 micro base station won the 2011 Informa LTE Award for Best Enabling Technologyat the LTE North America conference in Dallas, Texas.

The ZXSDR BS8920 was developed based on ZTE’s Uni-RAN platform, and is the world’s first commercial LTE micro base station. The product’s hardware cost is 50 per cent less than traditional distributed base stations, and its auxiliary facility costs are 30 per cent less in comparison. It is compact and lightweight and supports all-standard LTE bands. Its low power consumption helps operators reduce total cost of ownership.

The Informa award solidifies ZTE’s leading position as a provider of commercial LTE products, all-network solutions, and enhanced small cell coverage technology that can be used in airports, shopping centers, subways and other indoor hotspots. Awards at Informa-sponsored LTE North America are considered highly competitive in the telecommunications industry. The selection committee comprises delegates of global leading operators, industry analysts and media.

In first half 2011, ZTE won more LTE commercial-use contracts than it had in all of 2010 through leveraging its leading Uni-RAN technology. Further, the company has built a considerable business presence in Europe, the United States and Japan.

To date, ZTE has secured 28 LTE commercial use contracts and has teamed up with more than 90 operators to deploy LTE test networks worldwide. In Hong Kong, ZTE built the world’s first dual-band LTE commercial network; in Sweden, it built the world’s first large-scale LTE FDD/TDD dual-mode commercial network together with Hutchison 3G.

ZTE Unveils World’s First Commercial LTE Micro Base Station [ZTE press release, July 4, 2011]

ZTE’s new LTE BS8920 Micro Base Station is a technological revolution in hotspot coverage and product footprint

ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, has launched the ZXSDR BS8920, the world’s smallest commercially available LTE base station. The BS8920 also has the largest capacity of any LTE micro base station at 150Mbps, with 2X10W transmit power and 2T4R modulation for a large footprint, and offers significantly lower TCO due to reduced hardware, power consumption and deployment costs.

imageThe ZXSDR BS8920 micro base station is targeted at the rapidly growing market for urban and indoor hotspot coverage, and can reduce hardware costs by up to 50 percent of distributed base stations. The design of the BS8920 encompasses key features to reduce power consumption to as low as 100W average, with up to 30 percent lower deployment costs in terms of deployment compared to other distributed base stations.

Ms. Li Jian, General Manager of ZTE’s CDMA and LTE Product Line, said, “ZTE invests heavily in research and development for environmentally friendly, low-power solutions that are versatile for operators. We are pleased to debut the BS8920 which we are already demonstrating to customers. This development will allow both end-users and operators to experience excellent coverage and meet demand with ease.”

The BS8920 base station meets industry requirements for an Omni sector eNodeB product, with less than half of the size and weight of a standard remote radio unit (RRU). It also supports all-standard LTE frequency band spectrums, and AC/DC power supply.

The newly released base-station can be widely applied in various complex environments, such as LTE hotspots, blind spots or indoor/outdoor areas, playing an important role in LTE networks and hybrid networks.

As of April 2011, ZTE has signed 18 LTE commercial contracts with operators from around the world, and has deployed 70 trial networks jointly with its partners.

ZTE releases ‘world’s smallest’ LTE base station [TechEye, July 4, 2011]

According to Gartner analyst Sylvain Fabreit is important for ZTE to look towards competing with the likes of the “more aggressive” Huawei.

“ZTE is gradually getting more of the LTE market as legacy technologies such as GSM shrink, and could be well placed to perform well.”

“Though it is a smaller chunk of business for ZTE, LTE is clearly the next step, and companies know that they have to be in the LTE game, as for example the 3G market slows down growth.”

“All the players in the market are now positioning themselves.”

While Fabre believes that ZTE could be well equipped to capitalise as the technology slowly gains ground, with Gartner forecast estimating it will account for 3.1 percent of all mobile connection by 2015, the mobile firm will have plenty to do to stay ahead of the competition.

All of the major companies have been making noise about smaller base station over the past year and a half, as the distinction is increasingly blurring with femtocellsas base stations get smaller.” Fabre explains.

“But we can be sure that ZTE rivals have developments in their own labs already.”

Interview with ZTE Senior Director – Richard Ye [ZTEGlobal, Nov 20, 2011]

At the Mobile Asia Congress 2011 [Nov 16-17, 2011], we interviewed with Richard Ye Lihe, ZTE’s Senior Director of Wireless Product Operation, Product R&D System. Please also visit our twitter and Facebook for more information of ZTE at MACHK. http://www.twitter.com/ZTEPress http://www.facebook.com/ZTECorp

More information on this blog:
China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HSPA level] is to create momentum for that [June 18, 2011] which also includes information about Global TD-LTE Initiative started by China Mobile and other industry heavyweights and now already with 36 member companies
Good TD-LTE potential for target commercialisation by China Mobile in 2012 [July 13, 2011]: most importantly the TD-LTE trials by China Mobile and details of the offerings from the participant leading infrastructure vendors:  Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson (detailed desciption of their strategy + acquisition of divested Nortel assets strategic for Ericsson), Nokia Siemens Networks, and Alcatel-Lucent (with special emphasis on extremely attractive lightRadio and related QorIQ Qonverge SoCs from Freescale quite essential for that)
China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, 2011] which also includes vital information about close TD-LTE cooperation between China Mobile and ClearWire in US, and which will significantly determine the future of TD-LTE not only in North America but elsewhere.  Its goal is to “cultivate a robust device ecosystem that supports multi-mode, multi-band devices with minimum component complexity and cost”, and will significantly strengthen the current direction of dual-mode LTE devices. “For Long Term Evolution (LTE) to succeed, it’s ‘absolutely critical” that devices be able to support both the TDD and FDD versions of the next-generation mobile technology, according to GSM Association (GSMA) Director General Anne Bouverot.

But keep in mind:

image

ZTE places strong emphasis on the Chinese and Asia/Pacific markets, but is making steady progress toward becoming a bigger international player with some recent international LTE wins.

Strengths

ZTE experienced continued maintained strong financial performance in 2010. It was the only vendor in this space besides Huawei to achieve double-digit revenue growth, it had the best margins in the group and also had a strong cash-flow generation. This all provide evidence of long-term sustainability.

ZTE has several form factors planned for its eNodeB product, including distributed, compact, femtocell and picocell, as well as unified core.

As a stepping stone to gain mind share and market share in North America, ZTE opened an LTE lab in the U.S. to demonstrate, test and interoperate with CSPs in 2009. It has also been working toward becoming more visible in the Middle East and Africa.

Cautions

While the company is working toward emerging from China to gain more contracts and a bigger footprint in international markets, it still lacks significant presence and mind share outside its home country. But it may have difficulty competing against stronger players in the market.

ZTE’s activity remains heavily weighted toward legacy technologies such as GSM and CDMA.

From: Magic Quadrant for LTE Network Infrastructure [Gartner, May 26, 2011]

As of May 2011, Huawei has deployed over 100 SingleRAN commercial networks, which are capable of evolving into LTE, and of those that have deployed SingleRAN networks, more than 40 operators have announced the launch or the imminent launch of distinct LTE services. Huawei won the “Significant Progress for a Commercial Launch of LTE by a Vendor” award at the LTE Summit 2011, which recognized Huawei’s endeavors and achievements in the commercial rollout of LTE.

Huawei’s SingleRAN 5-Band 3-Mode 1-Cabinet solution (BTS 3900L), which won the “Best LTE Network Elements” award, leverages a sole cabinet to support up to three technologies across five frequency bands, allowing for the coexistence and interoperability of GSM/UMTS/LTE networks to make true convergence a reality and to minimize costs for operators. This solution has been selected by leading operators worldwide, including Vodafone Germany and TeliaSonera Norway, to replace their outdated legacy base stations while simultaneously initiating their LTE network deployment.

From: Huawei Wins Two Awards at LTE World Summit 2011 [Huawei press release, May 17, 2011]

Since 2010, Huawei continues to rank No. 1 for contributions to LTE standards according to ABI Research. According to the latest Evolution to LTE Report released in September 2011 by GSA (the Global mobile Supplier Association), there are 35 commercial LTE networks launched globally and 18 of them are using Huawei’s SingleRANLTE solution.

From: Huawei Wins Two Awards for Contribution to LTE R&D and Standards [Huawei press release, Nov 17, 2011]

Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) provider, today announced its Small Cell solution recently won the award for “Best new network infrastructure solution” at 4G World 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The win affirms Huawei’s Small Cell solution has become the market leader, and has gained high recognition by the industry in the wireless broadband area.

… Based on a deep analysis of wireless networks, Huawei launched its innovative Small Cell solution which can deploy a precise layered network based on actual traffic distribution, offering seamless coverage in hot and blind spots to improve network capacity. This enables operators to protect network investment and decrease total cost of ownership through easy site acquisition, fast deployment, green design, multi-mode convergence and smooth evolution to LTE-Advanced.

… As of Q3 2011, there are 31 Small Cell commercial networks worldwide, and 14 of them are deployed by Huawei. Huawei ranks No.1 in market share.

From: Huawei’s Small Cell Solution Wins Award for “Best New Network Infrastructure Solution” at 4G World [Huawei press release, Nov 7, 2011]

More information on this blog:
ICT Top-100 in Mainland China and the #1 Huawei [June 4, 2011]


Important Basic Concepts needed for understanding any further information:

ZTE SDR [ZTE video, Jan 1, 2009]

Software Defined Radio (SDR)

Software Defined Radio (SDR) is a term adopted by the international Software Defined Radio Forum (SDRF) to describe radios that provides software control of a variety of modulation techniques, wide-band or narrow-band operation, communications security functions (such as hopping), and waveform requirements of current and evolving standards over a broad frequency range. This technology uses a generic hardware platform to accommodate different communications standards, frequencies and modulation schemes via software modules. A wide range of radio applications like Bluetooth, WLAN, CDMA, GMS, WCDMA and WiMAX can be implemented using SDR technology.

SDR is a cost-effective and perfect solution for 2G/3G network integration and future HSPA+ and LTE evolvement. Using SDR, hardware resources can be shared and base stations need only a software adjustment to handle a new standard, saving considerable expense.

Excerpt from: SDR Creates Possibility of Smooth Upgrade [ZTE article, March 24, 2008]

Radio Access Network (RAN)

In September 2008, ZTE a global leader in end-to-end telecommunications solutions won the InfoVision award in the New Product Innovation category during the Broadband World Forum (BBWF) Europe 2008 in Brussels, Belgium, for developing and pioneering SDR solution in the global telecom industry (see Figure 1).

SDR is an innovation that seeks to unify the Radio Access Network (RAN), allowing simultaneous multimode operation on the same base station. Conventionally each technology standard has its own radio access network, which means that operators who are changing their networks to new technology standards have to deploy different RANs for each technology platform, as shown in Figure 2.

With SDR mobile operators can use both 2G and 3G networks simultaneously or seamless evolve their networks from 2G to 3G without the need of deploying a separate RAN for each service. By means of simple software configuration, operators can choose which mode or mix of modes amongst GSM, UMTS, WIMAX, CDMA2000 and TD-SCDMA to run in a base station. Figure 3 illustrates the concept of SDR with both GSM and UMTS services unified into a single RAN.

This concept has many practical applications, for example, considering that nearly all GSM operators adopt UMTS as their 3G choice, SDR offers the best solution for this upgrade without any swapping of hardware. Its compatibility with migration to technologies beyond 3G or IMT-Advanced technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE) again ensures smooth upgrade without any network replanning.

As a state-of-the-art technology platform, SDR brings to the operators the benefit of All IP orientation. Its interfaces support packet based transmission like Fast Ethernet (FE) and Gigabit Ethernet (GE) as well as the legacy Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) like STM-1, E1, and ATM virtual circuits to ensure forward and backward compatibility in transport.

The architecture of base station is also distributed into Base Band Unit (BBU) and Remote Radio Unit (RRU) to ensure extended coverage with enhanced throughput, small size to facilitate easier and flexible roll out of networks and greater cost efficiencies in power consumption and transmission. SDR thus provides the best opportunity ever for operators to wholly evolve their networks smoothly with full investment protection and lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and it also enables deployment of green networks especially in these days of greater environmental concerns.

Together with IP technology SDR will define the world’s truly unified future proof networks. This technology innovation brings immense opportunities to the mobile industry, and like in the 1980s when forward looking operators leapfrogged their pessimistic counterparts through quick adoption of digital systems, SDR technologies will have their advantage too, and those operators who will harvest from its R&D will obviously have an advantage over the rest in the market.

Excerpt from: SDR: Building Future Proof Unified Networks [ZTE article, March 12, 2009]

Distributed BBU+RRU

ZTE first proposed the distributed BTS [Base Transceiver Station] solution in the telecom industry. Unlike the traditional centralized BTS, the distributed BTS physically separates its baseband unit and radio frequency (RF) unit and connects them via the standard baseband/RF interface (e.g., Common Public Radio Interface/Open Base Station Architecture Initiative, or CPRI/OBSAI). As shown in Figure 1, the baseband unit and the RF unit of the traditional BTS are separated into two independent function modules in the distributed BTS: Base Band Unit (BBU) and Remote RF Unit (RRU).

The RRU of distributed BTS integrates three RF units of traditional BTS: Transceiver and Receiver (TRX), Power Amplifier (PA) and RF Front End (RFE). With a protective enclosure that meets the IP55 standard, the RRU can be directly installed in an outdoor environment and in several modes: on a pole, on a wall, on a tower or in an integrated cabinet. Therefore, no equipment room space is required.

Being highly integrated, the BBU supports the same capacity as the baseband unit of traditional BTS but is much smaller. In an indoor environment, it can be installed on a wall or on an existing rack; thus, no extra indoor space is occupied. In an outdoor environment, it can be easily placed into the power supply cabinet or transmission cabinet of the BTS.

The distributed BTS is suitable for various installation scenarios as shown in Figure 2. If the equipment room has space constraints, the BBU can be installed in the equipment room, while the RRU is installed outdoors together with the antenna. In case the indoor installation space is not available, the BBU can be installed in the outdoor accessory cabinet, where the accessory equipment such as power supply, battery and transmission are placed, and the RRU can be directly installed outdoors, either with the antenna or in an integrated BBU & RRU cabinet. This integrated cabinet and the accessory cabinet can be installed on the ground or on top of the building; consequently, no indoor space is required. In the case of indoor coverage, the BBU can be installed in the basement or corridor, while the RRU can be mounted on the wall of the storey to be covered.

To support a smooth evolution in the future, ZTE adopts the Soft Defined Radio (SDR) technology in its distributed BTS, called distributed soft BTS. With this technology, the BTS can be applied in a 4G network by only upgrading the software or replacing some baseband boards. ZTE’s distributed soft BTS has the following attractions:

  • Real SDR technology supports hardware of different standards, maximally protecting operators’ investment.
    The BBU can support different standards such as CDMA, WCDMA, GSM, WiMAX, UMB and LTE by installing the related software. But the Channel Processing Module (CHM) board has to be replaced for other standards only when special chips are used on the board (at present, only the CDMA system uses special chips, i.e., Application-specific Integrated Circuit, or ASIC). As to the RRU, if the frequency band remains unchanged, it is only necessary to install the related software when supporting a different standard.
  • A variety of BBU/RRU products deliver full coverage solutions, meeting operators’ various requirements for network construction.
    The RRU products with different power specifications, such as 60 W, 40 W and 5 W, are available, and they can meet the coverage needs in urban dense areas, suburbs and countryside. Moreover, the 200 mW pico RRU can be applied for indoor coverage.
  • BBU/RRU products feature high integration, large capacity, small size and light weight, making easy installation and maintenance while reducing operators’ CAPEX.
    With the standard 2U height design, the BBU can support a capacity of 36 carrier-sectors for the CDMA2000 1X or EV-DO system. The RRU, which is 16.5 kg in weight and has a dimension of 380 × 330.2 × 152.4 mm (H × W × D), can support a maximum capacity of 6 CDMA2000 1X or EV-DO carriers and a maximum transmit power of 60 W at the cabinet top. Both the BBU and RRU provide the highest integration among the like products in the industry.

Excerpt from: ZTE’s Distributed Soft BTS Solution [ZTE article, March 24, 2008]


Branding:

[Jan 9, 2009] With many years of experiences in wireless technologies, ZTE launches OneNetwork solution including unified RAN based on SDR technology, unified all-IP core network and unified OMC [Operation & Maintenance Center] platform.

… The unified all-IP core network based on the ATCA architecture separates transmission from services and enables large-capacity transmission for mobile networks. …

[Oct 10, 2009] ZTE Opens LTE Laboratory in North America … This CDMA/LTE dual-mode laboratory is based on the Uni-RAN solution on ZTE unified Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform …

The reason for dropping the OneNetwork brand and starting to use the new Uni-RAN for a subsystem of OneNetwork is quite probably because the OneNetwork trademark had already been registered by an Australian SME company now belonging to a somewhat larger group with ~200 employees: Anittel Group Ltd.

For us this whole affair is just important for the reason that ZTE decided to use a brandname just for its RAN solution and did not try to introduce another name for the whole. This shows that the Uni-RAN solution is indeed a strategic differentiator for ZTE.


The Details of the Approach Taken by ZTE:

ZTE Technologies magazine, Feb 2011 issue [PDF] ”Tech Forum”: Business Opportunities in TD-LTE [Jan 17, 2011]

Abundant Spectrum Resources

Growth in mobile data traffic has brought new profit to mobile operators across the world. Statistics show that data revenue of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone and other mainstream operators has increased by an average of 30%. Therefore, much attention is now being focused on data and broadband services. Obtaining more spectrum resources and increasing spectrum efficiency has become of great importance.

Spectrum resources for Time Division Duplex (TDD) are abundant. 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz are the most common TD spectrum bands for TD-LTE, but most of these bands are not being used. TDD spectrum resources are available in many countries and available for many operators. Of the 300 operators who have TDD spectrum resources, 66% own 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz bands.

Promising Market Opportunities

TD-LTE is attracting leading operators around the world. Many of the top 500 telecom operators own a chunk of TDD spectrum and are vigorously pushing forward TD-LTE development.

China Mobile owns 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz TDD bands and is leading in the promotion of TD-LTE. After completing the fourth phase of its TD-SCDMA network construction, China Mobile will boast the world’s largest 3G network with 220,000 TD base stations by Q1 2011. The operator will call for bids on the evolution of its TD-SCDMA networks in the first half of 2011. Its commercial TD-LTE network is expected to be deployed in one to two years.

Mainstream European operators Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, KPN, and O2 have all acquired TDD spectrum and are actively researching TD-LTE technologies and application models. Deutsche Telekom completed its trial TD-LTE network in the second half of 2010 and has started testing the network.

In June 2010, Qualcomm won India’s 2.3GHz Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum auction for TDD development in four regions of the country. Qualcomm has promised to set up a joint venture to build an LTE network. This demonstrates that Qualcomm has TD-LTE in its strategic plan.

Mobile operators in the U.S. including AT&T, Verizon, and America Mobil have promised to support TD-LTE. Leading operators in Japan and Korea have also played an active role in promoting TD-LTE. Other operators with WiMAX, PHS (1900-1920MHz), and TD-SCDMA will also choose TD-LTE as their migration path.

TDD spectrum is easy to acquire, and there is less competitive pressure in acquiring it. The price of TDD spectrum in each country is much lower than that of FDD spectrum. Because FDD spectrum is very limited and expensive, more and more operators are considering TDD for feature-rich data services and hotspot area coverage.

Using time division technique, TD-LTE allows flexible timeslot allocation in the downlink and uplink. This meets both voice and asymmetric data needs and greatly increases spectrum efficiency. TD-LTE can share the same core network with an FDD system and can support flexible networking. It can serve as an independent network for hotspots and blind area coverage or as a supplement to the FDD system for data services. LD-LTE has promising and widespread applications.

Fast-Growing TD-LTE Industry

Driven by operators, standardization organizations, equipment vendors, and chipset makers around the world, the TD-LTE industry is growing rapidly. Members of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance include China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone Orange, T-Mobile, AT&T, as well as 29 mobile network and terminal suppliers including Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE. Together these companies are actively promoting standardization of TD-LTE. So far, 3GPP R9 specifications have been completed, and the standardization progress of TD-LTE has kept pace with that of LTE FDD. Testing of TD-LTE technology and networking organized by the LTE/SAE Trial Initiatives (LSTI) was first conducted by China Mobile and has produced favorable results.

The TD-LTE industry chain has been established and is growing fast. It comprises chipset providers, terminal providers, infrastructure equipment manufacturers, and testing instrument providers.

All chipset providers plan to launch 3G/LTE multimode chipsets in early 2011. The development of LTE chipsets drives the development of terminal products. Nokia, Samsung, LG, Motorola, ZTE, and Shanghai Bell will unveil a number of LTE terminals in 2011. LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode terminals will be the mainstream offerings, and this will further promote the flexible deployment of TD-LTE.

Equipment manufacturers Ericsson, Nokia-Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent, ZTE, and Huawei have all developed TD-LTE series equipment that can be applied in different scenarios. These products have been tested in the TD-LTE trial networks of China Mobile and overseas operators. Presently, they support 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz bands and will support 1.9GHz and 2.1GHz bands in the future.

Test instrument manufacturer Anritsu has announced its MT8820C will support TD-LTE radio testing. Rohde & Schwarz and Anite also provide many types of testing and measuring equipment.

As the industry chain matures, commercial TD-LTE is just around the corner.

ZTE Leads the TD-LTE Industry

Smooth evolution

ZTE provides a Uni-RAN solution based on an innovative SDR [Software Defined Radio] hardware platform. The Remote Radio Unit (RRU) supports 700MHz, DD spectrum, 900MHz, 1800MHz, AWS, 2.1GHz, and 2.6GHz bands. The Base Band Unit (BBU) supports GSM, UMTS, and LTE radio modes, which allows for fast network deployment. The Uni-RAN solution enables smooth network evolution while protecting investment to the greatest possible extent. This helps operators significantly reduce their TCO.

Large-capacity base stations

ZTE’s single BBU supports up to 18 TD-LTE cells, each having a bandwidth of 20MHz. The maximum throughput per cell is 100Mbps in the downlink and 50Mbps in the uplink, and the RRU provides power output of up to 2×20W. The RRU also supports multiple modes for different coverage scenarios. Both IP over E1 and IP over PE/GE are supported. Flexible networking and good scalability helps operators cut their network construction costs.

Compact and eco-friendly design

ZTE’s distributed BBU+RRUenables simple and flexible zero-footprint deployment. The BBU is the smallest in the industry and can be mounted on the wall or embedded in a 19-inch rack to save space. The RRU is small and lightweight. It is naturally cooled, silent, and saves power.

End-to-end full-service solution

ZTE is dedicated to offering TD-LTE products that meet various deployment scenarios. Its end-to-end, customized, full-service solution encompasses services, core networks, radio systems, and terminals.

Worldwide deployments

With fast growth of the industry chain, TD-LTE trial networks have been deployed in China, Japan, India, Russia, Germany, Ireland, and the U.S. As of October 2010, ZTE has signed agreements with ten leading operators to build TD LTE trial networks. ZTE is leading the industry in TD-LTE deployment worldwide.

  • China Mobile started TD-LTE tests involving an indoor system, terminal chipset, and large-scale outdoor network at the end of 2008. It plans to initiate TD-LTE trials in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Xiamen in early 2011. A total of 3000 TD-LTE base stations will be deployed, and ZTE will be one of the main vendors for the network deployment.
  • ZTE was chosen by Europe’s largest mobile operator to supply TDD equipment for TD-LTE field testing in February 2010. Phase I of testing was completed in July and produced good results. Phase II and III are expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.
  • India issued two BWA licenses in August 2010, and ZTE entered into an agreement with major local operators to help them build several TD-LTE trial networks across the country.
  • In September 2010, ZTE cooperated with Russia’s largest integrated network operator to deploy a 2.3GHz TD-LTE trial network in Sochi. ZTE demonstrated a peak data rate of 130Mbps and won high praise from Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Conclusion

The abundant spectrum resources, technical advantages, and flexible networking features of TD-LTE may translate into great market opportunities. As the industry chain matures, TD-LTE has promising commercial prospects. ZTE was one of the earliest players in the TD-LTE field and has an industry-leading outlook. With its visionary outlook and years of TDD experience, ZTE is developing excellent TD-LTE concepts and solutions. The company is working together with operators worldwide to create higher value and to seize upon new market opportunities.

Hi3G Is Poised to Lead the LTE TDD/FDD Convergent Era [ZTE use case, May 20, 2011] —ZTE helps Hi3G to build the world’s first LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode commercial network

The world has witnessed the remarkable achievements made by the European telecommunications industry. Up to now, the European operators have won half the seats among global high-end operators. Europe is usually the pioneer in adopting new technologies and businesses.

Hi3G is ranked the fourth in the market share in Sweden and Denmark. At present, its competitors have deployed LTE networks in the Nordic market, which cause great impact on the 3G development of Hi3G. Therefore, it is very imperative for Hi3G to launch LTE.

While manyhigh-endoperators adopt the traditionalFDD mode, Hi3G believes that after FDD and TDD standards converge, TDD will not only help build a network with the same quality as FDD, but also have cost advantages, for example in spectral resource. Therefore, building TDD/FDD LTE dual-mode networks is the best choice for operators. In addition, with only 2 x 10MHz in 2.6GHz band awarded for FDD in both Sweden and Denmark, Hi3G will not be able to provide competitive data throughput in hotspots. Fortunately, the use of TDD/FDD LTE hybrid networking can provide high-rate services and take advantage of the existing spectral resource according to the service type.

In Sep 2010, Hi3G issued tender documents, requiring all vendors to provide an LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode networking solution. In this solution, interoperability between TDD/FDD LTE and Hi3G’s existing UMTS should be implemented. Moreover, the FDD LTE network should provide wide coverage, both TDD and FDD should be applied in the same hotspots, and later, the TDD LTE network should be further expanded in hotspots. Last, the entire convergent network must be completed within three months from equipment delivery to installation and commissioning.

Figure 1 Application Scenario of TDD/FDD Multi-Mode, Multi-Frequency Networking

At the early stage of bidding, Hi3G selected two suppliers to roll out LTE in Sweden and Denmark. As the project proceeded, ZTE finally stood out in the competition by virtue of its advanced LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode solution, multi-mode SDR platform, diversified BS forms, customized transmission solutions, leading multi-mode terminals, powerful delivery and logistics. In March 2011, Hi3G selected ZTE as the exclusive vendor to deploy LTE.

While meeting the requirements for interoperability and load balancing between hi3G’s existing 3G network and LTE network, the TDD LTE/FDD LTE/UMTS multi-mode convergent networking solution provided by ZTE effectively improved system security and stability, and hence ensured the network throughput in hotspots. By sharing the existing resources including BBU, antenna, GPS, transmission, OMC and EPC, the LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode convergent network not only helped Hi3G to reduce site investment and network maintenance cost, but also accelerated the network construct speed.

Figure 2 Topology of LTE TDD/FDD Dual-mode Networking

Specific to the system interference concern caused by co-site of TDD LTE, FDD LTE and UMTS networks, ZTE offered a co-antenna solution, which won high recognition from Hi3G. In this solution, ZTE adopted 2-path broadband antennas to effectively relieve interference of TDD LTE to FDD LTE through antenna isolation and customized combiners.

Figure 3 ZTE’s Co-Antenna Solution (Applied in Sweden)

It is known that hotspots have high requirements for network throughput. Besides, Hi3G has limited site resource and hoped to make use of the existing UMTS network site. Moreover, the winter temperature is very low in Sweden and Denmark. Therefore, very high requirements are put on the base stations in terms of capacity, size, installation flexibility and performance. In response to that, ZTE provided diversified LTE base stationsto completely satisfy the customer’s site requirements with good performance even at the temperature of 40° below 0. In this project, by adopting different combinations of ZTE’s FDD/TDD dual-mode SDR base stations, small-capacity outdoor BBU cabinet, large-scale outdoor cabinet and outdoor distributed base stations, the eNodeB system can be conveniently installed indoors, outdoors, mounted on a tower, under a tower or even installed with no equipment room. As a result, the eNodeB removed the need for extra civil engineering expenditure, decreased the engineering installation difficulty, and hence accelerated network construction for Hi3G.

As a global pioneer in 3G, Hi3G is of course unwilling to lag behind in the field of 4G network operation. For operators, failure to put a network into commercial use on time not only leads to a tremendous loss of revenue, but also runs the risk of lagging behind the competitors. By providing diversified terminals and rapid network construction, ZTE can help Hi3G to achieve fast commercialization of LTE.

On the terminal side, ZTE launched the world’s first Qualcomm chipset based data cards. By supporting 3G, TDD LTE and FDD LTE systems simultaneously, these data cards will help Hi3G to commercialize its LTE network rapidly in terms of business model.

On the engineering delivery side, aimed at “global leader in delivery”, ZTE has set up professional project management processes and teams from site acquisition to civil engineering, equipment installation and equipment room maintenance. Hi3G was very satisfied with ZTE’s standardized project operation and high-quality delivery.

Peder Ramel, CEO at Hi3G, said, “We have chosen ZTE for additional 3G 900/2100 rollout and for LTE mobile broadband networks in Sweden and Denmark because of the possibility to house three different mobile standards in the same physical infrastructure and the low cost of ownership. Furthermore, ZTE advanced LTE dual-mode solutions and quick consignment responses really meet our requirements.”

[The company was founded in 2001 and is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Hi3G Access AB operates as a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. of Hong Kong. The HWL as an international corporation reported turnover of approximately HKD326 billion (USD42 billion) and HKD187 billion (USD24 billion) for the year ended 31 December 2010 and for the six months ended 30 June 2011. HWL is the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator, the world’s leading health and beauty retailer, one of Asia’s largest retailers, and a pioneer of mobile multimedia communications with the launch of third-generation (3G) mobile phones and networks under the “3” brand meaning 3G service.

From wikipedia: In Sweden the mobile network is shared with Telenor, except for cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo, Lund and Karlskrona where they handles their own 3G networks, but this practise is not allowed in Denmark. In the spring 2011 3 started, without Telenor, to build their own 3G Network on the UMTS 900-band which will give a bigger coverage. 3Sweden is the only operator in Sweden that have the licence to build 3G at the UMTS900 band. Today 3 Sweden covers about 98.5% of the swedish population. … 3Sweden is for the fifth year in a row the best operator for Mobile Broadband and has the best 3G-coverage in Sweden.

3 in Sweden is 60% owned by Hutchison Whampoa and 40% by Swedish Investor AB, founded and still controlled by the Wallenberg family and having SEK 181 billion (US$ 26.3 billion at current rate) investment in the end of 2010. 3 in Sweden is not even the core investment of Investor AB for which such names as Atlas Copco (16.7%), SEB (20.8%), ABB (7.3%, AstraZeneca (3.7%), ERicsson (5%), Electrolux (13.6%), Husquarna (15.7%) and Saab (30%) were the core ones.]

E-Plus and ZTE Strengthen Partnership [ZTE press release, Sept 13, 2011]

Senior executives meet in Berlin to confirm expansion of mobile devices portfolio in the German market

ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, will today meet with senior executives from the E-Plus Group, at the BASE media meeting in Berlin, to confirm the expansion of its mobile devices’ portfolio in the German market.

Since 2010, ZTE and E-Plus, one of the largest operators on the German mobile telecommunications market, have been collaborating on the expansion of E-Plus’ broadband network. Following the successful launch of the ‘BASE Lutea’ smartphone and the ‘BASE Tab’ in the German market, E-Plus will introduce mobile devices designed by ZTEto enable subscribers to take advantage of the data services offered by its advanced mobile data network.

“Our partnership with ZTE has seen an impressive level of commitment from the entire team, helping us to push our services forward and expand our data network,” said Thorsten Dirks, CEO of E-Plus Group. “Due to the rapid implementation of ZTE’s 3G network technology, E-Plus and KPN have been able to offer broadband network services to more than 500,000 subscribers each week. The basic service provision required for each subscriber is constantly evolving in response to the mobile data services offered over the HSPA+ network. By expanding our partnership, E-Plus customers will enjoy further benefits from the advanced devices and network services offered.”

ZTE continuously strives to provide high quality products and excellent services, and aims to become E-Plus’ most reliable and long-term partner,” said Shi Lirong, President and CEO of  ZTE Corporation. “Through our focus on convergence, innovation and green technology, we aim to provide E-Plus and KPN with the most technologically advanced and economically valuable solutions. We are proud and honoured to be chosen as a strategic partner by E-Plus and KPN.”

The BASE media meeting will see over 500 top decision-makers from media, economics, politics as well as personalities from the worlds of sport, art and culture come together to celebrate the successful partnership between the two companies.

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. Having revolutionised the voice market for larger user groups, the company is now opening the mobile data market to the masses by means of 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 develop more dynamically and profitably 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 is thus breaking new ground in mobile communications in Germany. The flat-rate brand BASE and the mobile discounters simyo and blau are market leaders in their segments, while the original E-Plus brand offers a range of services to its existing customers. The brand AY YILDIZ is aimed at the Turkish community in Germany. Vybemobile is intended to appeal to young music lovers. The partners of the E-Plus Group include many other brands, such as MEDIONmobile (ALDI TALK) and music TV station MTV. More than 21.5 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 2,650 people (FTE) in Germany.

Partners ZTE and KPN Mobile International announce LTE Trials [ZTE press release, Feb 17, 2011]

ZTE and KPN today announced a joint development programme focussed on the application of LTE technology in Germany and Belgium. KPN Mobile International and ZTE have scheduled a field trial program for 2011 to investigate the capabilities of ZTE’s commercial equipment. The co-operation gives KPN the flexibility to speedily upgrade its network equipment to LTE in the future, if demand is there.

The 2010 spectrum auction in Germany put LTE network technology firmly on the agenda and gave KPN the opportunityto further enhance its competitiveness in the market.

“ZTE is a telecommunications equipment market challenger in Europe, very much in line with E-Plus’ and KPN Group Belgium’s development strategy,” said KPN Mobile International CTO Erik Hoving. “This agreement further strengthens our cooperation in the telecommunications market. It has strategic significance for both KPN and ZTE in Europe, and also in terms of each company’s international market position.”

“We appreciate that KPN selected ZTE as a strategic partner and we are strongly focussed on the long-term partnership between our companies,” said Shi Lirong, President and CEO of ZTE Corporation. “We support KPN with world-class telecom technologies and effective solutions with the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry to build high-speed networks. ZTE’s advanced and future-proof SDR technologyhelps KPN optimise its operation efficiency to meet increasing demands and develop value-added services for their customers.”

In December 2009, ZTE and KPN announced plans to conduct a comprehensive expansion of HSPA networks in Germany and Belgium starting in 2010. The programme was designed to establish a strategic partnership between the two companies for the development of future-proof networks in Belgium and Germany.

Under the agreement, ZTE has started a program to help transform KPN networks in Germany and Belgiumover a three year period using ZTE’s SDR (Software Defined Radio) technology to provide users with HSPA + high-speed data services which enable cost-effective mobile broadband communications.

As a result of the seamless transformation from the existing network to the new one, KPN will be able to offer its customers in Belgium and Germany faster high-speed data services of upto 21.6 Mbps, enabling the operator to offer new mobile broadband services.

The initial agreement between ZTE and KPN involved the provision of access network technology, but has extended to cover end-to-end solutions including core network and wireless access technologies and Android handsets. The packet-based core network equipment deployed in Germany is now in commercial use, and can be easily upgraded to future technologies. More recently ZTE delivered the co-branded Lutea smartphoneto KPN’s E-Plus in Germany and KPN Group Belgium in December 2010.

During the year 2010, ZTE established a new company in Belgium, and opened a new office in Düsseldorf dedicated to the KPN transformation project as well as several new regional offices in Germany. In addition, ZTE also set up a customer Training Center in Germany and a 24/7 help deskto provide local support to KPN. By consistently delivering on its commitments, the company has proved its ability to deliver at the high level expected by European operators. To better support KPN, ZTE has created a diverse team consisting of technical experts from China and Europe.

About KPN
KPN is the leading telecommunications and ICT service provider in the Netherlands, offering wireline and wireless telephony, internet and TV to consumers and end-to-end telecom and ICT services to business customers. KPN’s subsidiary Getronics operates a global ICT services company with a market leading position in the Benelux, offering end-to-end solutions in infrastructure and network-related IT. Getronics manages 2.2 million workspaces. In Germany and Belgium, KPN pursues a Challenger strategy in its wireless operations and holds number three market positions through E-Plus and BASE. In Spain and France, KPN offers wireless services as an MVNO [mobile virtual network operator] through its own brands and through partner brands. KPN provides wholesale network services to third parties and operates an efficient IP-based infrastructure with global scale in international wholesale through iBasis.

The E-Plus Group, China Mobile and ZTE collaborate for TD-LTE field trial in Germany [partner news on NGMN site, Feb 11, 2011]

The E-Plus Group will 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 provide technical support to 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.

ZTE Technologies magazine, Oct 2011 issue [PDF, Sept 9, 2011]:
Special topic “Mobile Network Modernization”

3G LTE – Bringing you closer: Now working seamlessly together

Taking a large step forward can be daunting. This is why we have based our LTE solutions on mature hardware designs for SDR centralized platforms – a field in which we already leading global suppliers – and created systems that allow fro truely seamless upgrades and, above all, super smoth performance. We also customize everything down to the last detail and proviode superior after-sales service so that you can be sure of receiving and replying on a solution that is perfect fit for your unique needs. This way, a huge step doesn’t have to feel quite so big.

Begin at www.zte.com.cn

ZTE Technologies magazine, Oct 2011 issue [PDF, Sept 9, 2011]
“Success Story”:  Cell C Striving Towards Leadership [Sept 19, 2011]

Why would a South African company choose a Chinese company to teach it how to fight and ascend to the top?

ZTE was the first promoter of SDR technology in the telecommunications industry, and in recent years, it has achieved global success with its Uni-RAN solution based on SDR. Its SDR series base stations can be smoothly evolved from GSM to UMTS and even to LTE. Only software upgrades and minimal hardware changes are necessary, and this is very appealing to operators all over the world. It is especially appealing to operators like Cell C who face the challenges of shrinking capital investment and slow-growing revenue. Since ZTE sold its first SDR base stations in 2008, more than 500,000 units have been deployed worldwide and serve more than 120 operators. These numbers prove that ZTE is the partner of choice.

ZTE’s very substantial global experience and advanced SDR technology are the reasons why the Chinese vendor was chosen to teach Cell C how to fight.

Also, by brokering a deal with the China Development Bank, ZTE has secured funding of more than 2 billion rand and has helped Cell C reduce its considerable debt. Two billion rand is so powerful that Cell C now has enough firepower to clear its path to the top of the South African telecom market.

In 2010, the Cell C network was baptized by the World Cup. A huge number of subscribers joined the Cell C network. Almost everyone in the stadium wanted to send messages to their friends and share the electric atmosphere of live football. The Cell C network had to deal with a huge influx of traffic. Supported by ZTE engineers, the Cell C network performed well and more than passed the test.

ZTE Technologies magazine, Oct 2011 issue [PDF, Sept 9, 2011]
“Success Story”: E-Plus Group Focuses on Future Technologies Made by ZTE  [Sept 19, 2011]

ZTE has signed partnership agreement with E-Plus Group and KPN Belgium. Under this agreement, ZTE will help E-Plus expand its mobile network to 4G HSPA+. ZTE is also supporting E-Plus Group to implement the LTE standard.

“The coming years will bring massive changes in the use of mobile devices. Besides voice and SMS, more and more people will make use of the Internet. Mobile browsing with a smartphone has developed dynamically into a mass market.”

Gerhard Lüdtke, access network director at E-Plus Group, believes there is good reason to invest heavily in the development of data networks. “We expect a massive increase in data volume on the networks. To absorb this, we need competent partners who can assist us to expand our networks with mature technology. ZTE is one of those partners.” KPN, the Dutch parent company of E-Plus, has been in contact with ZTE since 2005—when ZTE was its supplier of UMTS data cards.

In December 2009, E-Plus and KPN Belgium agreed to take advantage of ZTE’s HSPA+ technology to extensively expand their data network. “In the largest network expansion initiative in our history, we are making big steps every month on the road to becoming a 4G mobile operator,” said Luedtke. “This will benefit our customers who use the Internet via their mobile phones. User experience is critical; our customers demand smooth and reliable surfing.” In the second step, the new LTE standard will be introduced. Since March 2011, ZTE and E-Plus have been conducting tests on three frequency bands.

“The priority for us is the expansion of the data network with HSPA+. HSPA+ devices are available in sufficient quantities and at good prices. This is not the case with LTE,” said Matthew Geller, procurement manager at E-Plus.

Rapid Implementation

In December 2009, the contract for the expansion of the E-Plus data networks had barely been signed when ZTE began work on the project. First, ZTE installed the entire project infrastructure, setting up a team of technicians and engineers (local and Chinese) as well as a training center. ZTE trainers taught service companies, contractors, and employees working with E-Plus how to deal with the new systems. In mid March 2010, initial tests were carried out on the new system, and the results were successful.

Then there was a flurry of events. At the end of April, ZTE handed the network operator the first node B site ready for use. In June 2010, a customer help desk was set up. The help desk provides 24/7 service and guarantees short response times. That same month, interoperability tests were completed. ZTE equipment was installed on existing stations and had to be compatible with existing material. At the end of June, ZTE, Alcatel Lucent, and E-Plus signed service contracts for maintenance of the networks.

Always Close to the Customer

At the same time, ZTE set up a new project office next to the E-Plus headquarters in Düsseldorf. ZTE established regional offices to coordinate on-site activities and to support E-Plus project managers all over Germany. Regional offices are located in Munich, Berlin, Hanover and Frankfurt. This shows how important the business customer focus is. Short distance from customers means quick response times. In the first half of July, a large number of site installations were completed. In August, the last two radio network controllers of the initial phase were installed and connected to the E-Plus network. In November, ZTE completed testing on the operations support system. Thousands more sites in Germany will be upgraded or swapped with ZTE technology in the future.

ZTE’s engineering has brought several advantages to E-Plus. Data throughput has been significantly improved, and ZTE modules use less energy, generate less heat, and are compact. They can be transported easily so that installation and maintenance are simplified. ZTE also used SDR base stations for network expansion. SDR technology allows multiple wireless standards to be applied to a base station, and the change from HSPA to LTE can be done via software upgrades. This makes the E-Plus system futureproof. With the new network, the cost of logistics is reduced, support is considerable, and new services can be easily created. New revenue opportunities can be exploited in the shortest possible time.

End-to-End Solution

The agreement with E-Plus is not limited to the provision of access technology. It includes the delivery of core network technology and terminals, which provides E-Plus with end-to-end solutions—from the core network via access technology to handsets. In December 2010, E-Plus launched the first ZTE smartphoneunder the name “Base lutea” (ZTE Blade).

When asked whether E-Plus fears becoming too dependent on ZTE, Matthew Geller replied, “Europe is a very attractive destination for Asian companies. If we become disappointed with ZTE or any other Chinese company, this would jeopardize their reputation in Europe. And nobody wants that. Besides, ZTE is totally transparent. We always know who is responsible for what and what the balance sheets say. This promotes confidence.” The German Federal Network Agency, a state regulatory body, sees no problem in the close cooperation between KPN and ZTE.

E-Plus has the next wireless standard in its focus, namely, LTE. Even here, E-Plus has been working closely with ZTE. Since February 2011, E-Plus has been conducting LTE field tests on ZTE technology using three frequency bands. The technology is being prepared for deployment of LTE in the E-Plus data network.

Learning from China Mobile

In Germany, the 2.6 GHz band is being used for TDD-LTE trials for the first time. TDD-LTE has mainly been used commercially in Asia, but E-Plus is pioneering a quasi-Asian standard in Europe. E-Plus is working together with the world’s largest mobile operator, China Mobile, and drawing on their rich experience in operating TDD technology. China Mobile brings expertise in operating and maintaining TDD networks and has supported the tests done by E-Plus.

However, conditions in China differ to those in Germany, particularly in relation to customer behavior and acceptance. TDD-LTE services large populations in China and throughout Asia, and it is the only way to offer fast Internet access in Germany without the using expensive fiber optics. Therefore, the standard has been well received to date. Gerhard Lüdkte of E-Plus is confident that Germany will accept the new technology.

Double Challenger Strategy

“We are a challenger in the German mobile market, and ZTE is also a challenger in their field. The chemistry between the two companies is just right,” said Gerhard Lüdtke. “We had ZTE on our screen since our first contact in Shenzhen in 2005. In Asia, ZTE is already an established supplier of sustainable technology and communication. They have a remarkable track record of projects in various states, not only in China. As for the technology, ZTE can compete with other suppliers and is even superior to them.” Geller added, “We need a strong partner, because we are exposed to fierce competition. ZTE provides us with solutions that simply work well.”

“With our power to innovate, we push E-Plus to the forefront. E-Plus can absolutely rely on us as a partner,” says Li Jun, CEO of ZTE Holland and head of the network expansion project at E-Plus and KPN Belgium. “For us, the network expansion for KPN International is a milestone on the way into the European market.”

ZTE Technologies magazine, Oct 2011 issue [PDF, Sept 9, 2011]
“Solutions”: Uni-RAN – A Perfect Way to Modernize Mobile Networks [Sept 19, 2011]

Demand for Network Modernization

Mobile broadband continues to develop and succeed at a phenomenal pace. The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) confirms that as of May 2011, more than 99.5% of the world’s WCDMA operators have deployed HSPA on their networks, and over 30% of them have evolved to HSPA+. The GSA also anticipates that 81 LTE networks will be in commercial service by the end of 2012 in addition to the existing 20 that have been launched commercially. The rapid growth of mobile broadband has placed high requirements on architecture and management of mobile bearer networks.

GSM/EDGE has by far the largest subscriber base, accounting for more than 88% of global mobile subscribers. Yet most GSM operators are now facing pressure from the growing demand for data services and declining ARPU. Legacy network devices and architecture are barely able to meet the requirements. It is therefore imperative to modernize legacy mobile networks for high profitability and sustainable development.

ZTE’s Uni-RAN Solution

To modernize networks, ZTE has developed an innovative Uni-RAN solution that ensures smooth evolution and easy O&M without affecting existing services.

Smooth evolution

Uni-RAN adopts a unified SDR platform that supports multiband and multimode radio configurations. The CN and OMM parts of multiple radio systems are converged in Uni-RAN. This simplifies network architecture and makes network O&M easier and more reliable. By updating software and minimizing changes to hardware, Uni-RAN allows for smooth evolution from GSM/EDGE to WCDMA and then to LTE. In network modernization, it is quite important to balance investment in equipment, network O&M, and network profitability. Because it allows for smooth evolution, Uni-RAN can extend the lifecycle of a network for longer time.

Flexible networking

ZTE’s SDR base stations come in various types, ranging from indoor macro base stations for dense, high-traffic urban areas to outdoor micro base stations for remote coverage in suburban areas. The advanced BBU+RRU structure is suitable for almost all application scenarios, and installation is also easy and efficient. Compared with legacy indoor macro base stations, the BBU+RRU design saves more than 75% of equipment room. With diverse base stations and flexible networking mode, Uni-RAN helps operators economize on manpower and material resources.

Outstanding performance

Uni-RAN has performance advantages that help operators reduce OPEX, especially transmission and energy costs. The all-IP platform used for SDR base stations greatly enhances communication efficiency and saves on rental fees for E1 transmission. BBUs and RRUs are specially designed to suit different application scenarios. They are small, silent, energy efficient, and naturally cooled. Uni-RAN adjusts transmitting power of RF units according to real-time traffic load. These adjustments are made using software so that power consumption throughout the network is completely optimized.

Speed Up Network Modernization

By the end of 2010, ZTE had deployed GSM/UMTS networks for 120 operators in more than 100 countries. ZTE’s SDR equipment―the c o r e o f U n i – R A N ― has been recognized by operators worldwide since it was first launched in 2007. ZTE has achieved large-scale breakthroughs in the global high-end telecom market with the SDR base-station platform. Companies in Europe, such as KPN, Telenor, Telefonica, Optimus and H3G, are using SDR base stations deployed by ZTE. In 2010, the total shipment of ZTE’s SDR base stations exceeded 700,000 units.

Driven by an upsurge in mobile network modernization around the world, ZTE has seized the opportunity to focus on network swapping projects. The company has helped 67 operators in 29 countries modernize their networks, swapping more than 200,000 base station sites. In the first half of 2011, 160,000 GSM/UMTS carriers were successfully swapped by ZTE. Through cooperation with leading operators, ZTE has gained rich experience in network swapping and enhanced capabilities in logistic, engineering, and network optimization.

CSL: create a simple network

CSL is the largest mobile operator in Hong Kongwith more than 3 million subscribers. CSL had four original mobile networks: a 900MHz GSM network, two 1800MHz GSM networks, and a 2.1GHz UMTS network. The maximum download rate supported by the UMTS network was only 2.1Mbps, which was insufficient for meeting the requirements of 3G subscribers. Various NMS interfaces were being used to accommodate multiple modes and frequency bands. So CSL had difficulty managing and maintaining individual networks. The complicated network architecture also made it difficult to evolve networks and ensure QoS.

In 2008, CSL chose ZTE as a partner in its network reconstruction. Using Uni-RAN, CSL completely converged its GSM 900/1800M, UMTS 900M, UMTS 2.1G and LTE 1.8G/2.6G networks within two years. Unified network management was also implemented. 2500 base station sites were swapped. The restructured HSPA+ (or Next G) network is capable of downloading data at up to 21Mbps. According to internal research conducted by CSL in 2010, data traffic has increased by more than 65 times since the Next G network was launched in early 2009.

During the network swapover, CSL cut down the total number of base stations from 5050 to 2050, replaced original E1 transmission with FE transmission, and saved 20% transmission resources. CSL reduced network OPEX by 35.7% and greatly improved its profitability.

Ncell: make a miracle on the Top of Mt. Everest

Ncell is a wholly owned subsidiary of TeliaSonera and is the second largest mobile operator in Nepal. Its network covers 42% of mobile subscribers in the country. Ncell aims to capture the largest market share.

Nepal contains part of the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. Eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mt. Everest, are located in the country. Deploying base stations on the world’s highest mountain presented big challenges to Ncell.

For fast deployment and smooth evolution, Ncell adopted ZTE’s Uni-RAN solution in its network reconstruction project. Micro base stations using the SDR platform consume less power, have a small footprint, and are easy to install. A one-piece mast and insulated shelter are used for the stations, and this allows the base stations to be installed quickly without the need to move earth or construct foundations. Solar panels are incorporated into the design to ensure that base stations have power supply throughout the year and are environmentally friendly. These features allow each base station to operate at optimal levels with minimal power usage even in temperatures as low as [minus] 30˚C to 40˚C. Overcoming altitude sickness and harsh natural environment, ZTE engineers deployed eight 3G base stations on Mt. Everestone month ahead of schedule.

After 500 base station sites were swapped in the initial phase, Ncell reduced energy consumption by over 45% and saw a rapid rise in their subscriber base and data traffic.