Feeds

China Mobile spaffs £4.4bn on 4G 'trial'... before it even has a licence

If we build it, the iPhone will come

Top three mobile application threats

China Mobile will build 200,000 LTE base stations, covering 500 million people and costing 41.7 billion yuan, despite the fact that 4G licences won't be awarded until the end of 2013.

The world's largest mobile operator is obviously confident it will get a 4G licence, though until it does the rollout is officially just a "trial". UK networks typically manage with around 18,000 sites, so as trials go, this is a big one, and one which will support the next iPhone whatever it takes.

China Mobile lost out in the 3G licences, and was forced to use the home-grown TD-SCDMA standard, which precludes support for handsets popular internationally, including Apple's iPhone. That's not stopped 15 million China Mobile customers sourcing their own Apple hardware and using it on the 2G network, making the lack of support all the more annoying for the operator.

China Mobile has repeatedly asked Apple for a TD-SCDMA variant, but Cupertino has always resisted the urge to fragment further - despite the lure of more than 700 million potential customers.

Reuters points out that only 13 per cent of those customers are on 3G, but whether that's because they're low-end customers (as Reuters suggests) or because of the lacklustre handset support, isn't clear.

Even the new network won't support existing iPhones, as it uses the Time Duplexed variant of LTE (TD-LTE) which sends and receives alternately over one channel rather than using separate frequencies, but TD-LTE is gaining ground internationally - so Apple support is almost certain.

But deploying 4G so rapidly, well before the licence is issued, is an admission that TD-SCDMA was a stupid idea, and that even China needs the economy of scale which international standardisation brings. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.