Feature Article

December 31, 2013

LTE Ramps Up in China

While the big four cellular carriers battle it out over 4G in the U.S., LTE is also ramping up in China.

China Mobile was first at bat, which makes sense considering its 3G network is based on TDS-CDMA for 3G, which doesn’t really offer a clear path to 4G, explains Jim Guillet, vice president of wireless marketing at Alcatel Lucent. China Mobile, which says it is rolling out the world’s largest 4G network, offers 4G TD-LTE services in 16 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. By the end of 2014, the cellular carrier expects to have launched service on 500,000 4G base stations, which will cover more than 340 cities.

Alcatel Lucent in December was named as one of the top suppliers for China Telecom’s LTE build. Ericsson, which was not involved in China Mobile’s 3G network, is another of the carrier’s 4G suppliers. Ericsson has been selected to help China Mobile deploy LTE in 15 key provinces in China, providing its EPC solution as part of the deal. Huawei and ZTE, which were tapped for the build back in August, are also key suppliers for the China Mobile 4G effort (owning 25 percent each of the build, according to some reports).

China Telecom, whose 3G network is based on CDMA (another technology without a clear path to 4G), moved on the heels of China Mobile. In December China Mobile tapped Alcatel Lucent to provide it with small cells. Nokia Solutions and Networks in December also announced it had won LTE business from China Telecom, which will use NSN’s Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations, its NetAct network management system, and related launch optimization, implementation and care services.

And China Unicom, which currently relies on W-CDMA, is expected to move beyond its LTE trials soon, according to Guillet.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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