China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile carrier with a total of 700 million subscribers. Very recently, the carrier has announced its plans to upgrade 20,000 base stations this year to support TD-LTE, which is a variant of LTE and further 180,000 base stations the next year. However, these plans may now be jeopardized as the head of China’s Ministry of Industry and IT has reported stated that 4G TD-LTE licenses may not be handed until another 2, 3 years.
A local media source reportedly interviewed the head of the relevant IT Ministry of China. During the interview, the official stated that the Chinese authorities may not issue licenses for 4G TD-LTE technology for another 2, 3 years. Although he didn’t state a definite reason for such intents, the authorities apparently think that China Mobile’s 3G standard called TD-SCDMA hasn’t yet enough penetration yet. And so, this 3G standard need to gain sufficient penetration before 4G could be launched.
Another reason why the authorities may relent is that they may hold the current TD-LTE setup of the carriers in China as still not mature enough to be exposed to commercialization. As a result, the authorities may without the license for TD-LTE until the industry ‘matures.’
Clearwire is planning a TD-LTE rollout in US but it is not clear how and whether or not the stance of the Chinese authorities may affect this scheduled roll-out.
Image courtesy barryskeats.