We knew that China will get 4G starting on December 18, but there remained the not so trivial matter of government-issued LTE operating licenses. Today that issue is finally cleared up, with all three of China’s telcos getting their licenses.
According to the Shanghai Daily, China Mobile (NYSE:CHL; HKG:0941) gets the homegrown TD-LTE license, while rivals China Telecom (NYSE:CHA; HKG:0728) and China Unicom (NYSE:CHU; HKG:0762) are assigned both domestically developed TD-LTE and the more international FDD-LTE licenses.
Lots of major Chinese cities have had 4G trials for the past couple of years, but December 18 marks China’s official ‘nationwide’ 4G turn-on. However, only major cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chongqing will get 4G on that day, with more cities being added gradually. China Mobile aims to have its new 4G network cover 100 cities and 500 million people soon, but it’s not fully ready to roll on day one.
China Mobile, the world’s biggest telco by subscriber base, is the most 4G ready, with China Telecom and China Unicom not ready to roll out nationwide services on the 18th.
Big boost for Apple
China Mobile’s awkward 3G TD-SCDMA network meant it could never support the iPhone, so 4G means a new era of Apple compatibility for the telco. Some analysts expect China Mobile to start official iPhone sales on December 18, but the company has remained silent on that matter.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)