India and China prepare for TD-LTE as trials get underway

The world’s largest mobile operator, China Mobile, has received permission from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to commence trials of TD-LTE technology in six cities across the country.

The cities in question are Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Nanjing. The trials are aimed at assessing the network’s performance from both a technical and commercial standpoint, as well as evaluating the requisite supporting devices.

There are unconfirmed reports implicating a wide range of vendors in the trials; Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson are the names that have been most frequently mentioned, but various reports have associated Huawei, ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent with the pilot scheme.

China Mobile is reported to be aiming at a 2012 launch window for commercial TD-LTE services, and is expected to expand its 3G (TD-SCDMA) and Wi-Fi services in the run-up to this launch.

With mobile data services increasingly in demand, it is hardly surprising that many other operators are planning launches of TD-LTE, with Indian operator Reliance Industries reportedly finalising its vendor choices for a US$1 billion deal.

Reliance is expected to confirm its selection by Q1 2011. Among the candidates are Huawei, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, although there is the possibility that the operator will choose to commission more than one vendor to share the infrastructure rollout.

Once the contract has been signed, Reliance will have a key advantage in the domain of mobile broadband; in June 2010 it purchased a 95% stake in the only firm which has wireless broadband spectrum licences for all of India’s telecoms circles, Infotel Broadband.

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