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China Mobile touts 4G phones (2)

By Li Qiaoyi (Global Times)

08:36, February 19, 2013

"The TD-LTE standard is far more globally acknowledged then its predecessor TD-SCDMA­, and is expected to have a brighter outlook, which will undoubtedly give China Mobile a boost against competitors in the next-generation era," Joy Yang, Shanghai-based chief analyst of the carrier network infrastructure group at Gartner Inc, told the Global Times.

As of January, 29 telecom operators across the world have signed 45 TD-LTE commercial contracts and launched 64 TD-LTE trial networks, according to Qiu. A total of 14 TD-LTE networks have been rolled out commercially around the globe.

China Mobile's hegemony from the 2G era has gradually diminished as China Unicom and China Telecom, its two smaller rivals, have gained momentum in China's 3G race.

By the end of December, the number of users subscribing to China Mobile's 3G TD-SCDMA­ network totaled 87.93 million, while those subscribing to China Unicom and China Telecom's 3G networks stood at 76.46 million and 69.05 million respectively, according to their latest data, a reflection of the dwindling gap between the three telecom operators.

While China Mobile is unlikely to reclaim its previous levels of dominance after the country finally embraces the faster 4G networks, its edge over the other two carriers will definitely be strengthened, Yang remarked.

In stark contrast with China Mobile's 4G hype, China Unicom and China Telecom's 4G schemes remain low-profile.

But Yang downplays market speculation about an imminent issuance of 4G licenses in the country, noting that "the Chinese government is not likely to hand out 4G licenses before 2014, as it may be keen to avoid overlapping investment since the issuance of 3G licenses happened not long ago."

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