Last we heard, 4G in China was still a long way off. Like, years off. But recently we’ve seen China Mobile ramp up testing of its 4G TD-LTE network domestically even as it launched 4G TD-LTE service in Hong Kong. The obstacle, domestically, has mostly been the lack of government support, but recently we’ve seen some signs the government is getting behind 4G TD-LTE.
1. Yesterday, MIIT’s Minister Encouraged TD-LTE to Compete Abroad.
TD-LTE is China’s home-grown 4G technology, and yesterday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s director Miao Wei said that in addition to being the leading technology in China, TD-LTE should compete internationally with other 4G standards like LTE FDD. That doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on China, but it’s interesting to consider in concert with this…
2. Today, Reform and Development Committee Member Visits Hangzhou to Test 4G Service.
Today, Zhang Xiaoqiang, a member of China’s important Reform and Development Committee, visited Hangzhou with an official from China Mobile to test that company’s 4G TD-LTE service. The two tested the 4G service via WiFi installed on a public bus, and apparently, it went quite well.
3. Wireless Test Equipment is Selling Like Hotcakes.
According to analysis from Frost and Sullivan, demand for wireless test equipment in China is growing, in part because of “imminent” TD-LTE deployment.
Now, does any of this mean we’re getting 4G LTE later this month, or even later this year? I wouldn’t hold my breath. For one thing, very few people in China have 4G phones, and some increased government enthusiasm for the technology certainly doesn’t eliminate the need for permits and a lot of additional testing. But the fact that this sort of thing is even appearing in the news at all does indicate that MIIT and the Reform and Development Committee may be feeling more excited about 4G, and specifically China Mobile’s TD-LTE, than they once seemed to be. Testing of the system is clearly ramping up, and while it doesn’t mean we’re about to get 4G service, it might well be a sign that we may not have to wait as long as we originally thought.