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China and Taiwan to Lead the Development of 4G

China missed out on playing a leadership role in the development of 3G and as we predicted at that time, China would most certainly start looking at 4G for a major involvement in developing the technologies for it.

Representatives from some of the biggest telecommunications companies in China and Taiwan have met to discuss how they can cooperate in mobile broadband, including a pledge to lead the world in the development of 4G wireless broadband using TD-LTE technology.

With growing cooperation between Taiwan and China in the development of technology standards. Taiwan has offered its technical expertise and talent as a leading producer of IT gear, while China brings its telecommunications prowess as well as its huge population and market to the partnership.

China Mobile, the world’s biggest mobile network operator by subscribers, and Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) hosted meetings in Shanghai so that companies from China and Taiwan could discuss how they can combine their industry strengths and lead the world in the development of 4G wireless broadband. They plan to focus on TDD (Time Division Duplex) technology combined with LTE (Long Term Evolution). The meeting brought more companies together including the world’s largest contract manufacturer of laptops, Quanta Computer, smartphone-maker HTC, and China’s Huawei and Datang Telecom. It was the second major meeting in 2010 between telecommunication companies and product makers from China and Taiwan.

These initiatives are linked to the landmark trade deal that Taiwan signed recently with China, under which the mainland would slash tariffs on goods produced in Taiwan. The trade pact, known as Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, also covers a broad range of services.

China Mobile, with over 570 million subscribers, is already a big backer of TDD technology in its 3G network, which is based on the TD-SCDMA standard. The company officially started conducting tests of 4G LTE technology together with the MIIT in 2009. The first phase, which began in December 2008 involved preliminary evaluations of TD-LTE. The second phase, from August 2009 until June 2010, included testing of single systems and their interoperability, as well as outdoor tests. The third phase of testing, which is to last from the second half of 2010 into 2011, is to involve large-scale industrialisation, and include manufacture of chipsets, handsets and equipment, along with system integrators.

China Mobile is to invest RMB1.5 billion (US$225 million) to establish trial networks of TD-LTE, covering a total of 3,060 base stations across six large cities. The six are: Beijing in the northern region, Shanghai and Nanjing in the eastern region, Xiamen in the southeastern region, and Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the southern region. China Mobile has invited equipment suppliers to participate in the plan, with the selected vendors including domestic firms Huawei Technologies, ZTE and Datang Mobile Communications Equipment, as well as Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Motorola. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has designated the 2570MHz-2620MHz frequency band for the trial.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication

Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

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