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November 19, 2009

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China Mobile gears up for 4G

CHINA Mobile is to launch 4G mobile communication services as early as 2011 to boost its high-margin data services, industry officials said yesterday.

The world's biggest mobile carrier will roll out LTE (long term evolution) to provide handset users with a 20 to 30 times faster download speed compared to the latest 3G.

"We expect China Mobile to do LTE trials in 2010, and deployment in 2011," Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer of the GSM Association, said in Hong Kong.

Chinese carriers including China Mobile and China Telecom are building a trial LTE network for next year's World Expo site in Shanghai.

Based on 4G wireless communications technology, users will be able to access the Internet using handsets at a speed even higher than home broadband. The new technology will support various applications such as high definition video data transfer.

China Mobile has talked to Qualcomm Inc, a United States-based chip designer, about developing LTE chips for its LTE networks and handsets, the company's chairman, Wang Jianzhou, said.

Qualcomm last week announced the launch of chips supporting China's homegrown 3G technology and is aiming to get more income from China, the world's biggest mobile network with more than 700 million subscribers.

The move toward LTE will help China Mobile avoid huge investment in 3G. The company, which has more than 500 million subscribers, has adopted 3G based on homegrown technology, which is less commercially mature compared to rival 3G technologies such as those developed in the United States and Europe.

Meanwhile, China Unicom, the country's No. 2 carrier, said yesterday that its average revenue per user for 3G services had surpassed 100 yuan (US$14.70) per month, double the amount of its 2G business.



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