Big cities will get first crack at 4G de­vices

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By LI TAO and EMMA DAI in Hong Kong

The com­mer­cial use of Voice over Long Term Evo­lu­tion tech­nol­ogy, which supports high-def­i­ni­tion voice and video ser­vices on mo­bile de­vices, is likely to spread rapidly in ma­jor Chi­nese cities in 2014 along with the roll­out of fourth-gen­er­a­tion (4G) net­work li­censes, said Shi Lirong, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of ZTE Corp, on Wed­nes­day.

ZTE has con­ducted com­pre­hen­sive test­ing of VoLTE ser­vice with China Mo­bile Ltd — the world’s big­gest tele­com op­er­a­tor by sub­scriber num­bers — over the past few months, de­liv­er­ing a sat­is­fac­tory out­come, Shi told China Daily in Hong Kong on Thurs­day.

Peo­ple in first-tier cities will be first in line to en­joy VoLTE ser­vices be­cause tele­com op­er­a­tors covet the huge data de­mands in th­ese mar­kets, where in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment is also rel­a­tively sound, ac­cord­ing to Shi.

VoLTE de­liv­ers voice and video ser­vices with data flow­ing within LTE — 4G net­works. Af­ter the Min­istry of In­dus­try and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy on Mon­day of­fi­cially granted 4G li­censes to the three big­gest tele­com car­ri­ers in the coun­try, in­clud­ing China Mo­bile, China United Net­work Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Group Co Ltd (China Uni­com) and China Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Corp (China Tele­com), the adop­tion of VoLTE will be­come a trend be­cause it pro­vides a dis­tinct im­prove­ment in video call qual­ity at a lower cost, an­a­lysts say.

South Korea’s net­work car­ri­ers be­came the first VoLTE providers in the world in 2012. Hong Kong mo­bile car­rier CSL on Thurs­day also an­nounced it was launch­ing the first VoLTE net­work in the city, pow­ered by ZTE’s 4G so­lu­tions. In ad­di­tion, ZTE and Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd, the other ma­jor phone net­work equip­ment mak­ers in China, also pro­vide re­lated sup­port to tele­com car­ri­ers.

Hong Kong op­er­a­tors cur­rently pro­vide one of the best net­work ser­vices in the world, but it won’t take long for their main­land peers to catch up. It may take just one

In the fu­ture, 3G and 4G users com­bined will ac­count for 46 per­cent of the main­land mar­ket.” WANG WENLI AN­A­LYST FOR HAITONG IN­TER­NA­TIONAL

or two years, Shi said.

China Mo­bile en­joys greater ad­van­tages in the 4G mar­ket than other car­ri­ers be­cause it has heav­ily in­vested in the even faster TD-LTE net­work and it is also the 4G net­work that the gov­ern­ment has just ap­proved, said Wang Wenli, an an­a­lyst with Haitong In­ter­na­tional.

Since the be­gin­ning of 2013, China Mo­bile has been build­ing 200,000 base sta­tions and pur­chases 1 mil­lion mo­bile de­vices. About 40,000 peo­ple have tried the ex­per­i­men­tal ser­vice.

Be­cause China Uni­com and China Tele­com are also ex­pected to in­vest heav­ily in TD-LTE in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ments, DTZ, a global leader in prop­erty ser­vices, should be able to share some 20 to 30 per­cent of their in­vest­ment, Wang es­ti­mates.

Be­sides the rosy in­come from tele­com op­er­a­tors’ in­fra­struc­ture in­put, the fifth­largest smart­phone com­pany world­wide will also ben­e­fit from smart­phone sales. ZTE said ear­lier that it ex­pects its 4G mo­bile phone sales to ac­count for half of to­tal smart­phone sales af­ter the is­sue of 4G li­censes by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

“In the fu­ture, 3G and 4G users com­bined will ac­count for 46 per­cent of the main­land mar­ket.” Wang added that 30 per­cent of mo­bile de­vice users have al­ready adapted to 3G ser­vices in the coun­try.

“China Mo­bile owns 20 per­cent of the 3G mar­ket and it has been con­tin­u­ously pro­mot­ing the 4G ser­vice be­cause of its un­der­dog stand­ing of the 3G busi­ness,” Wang said, adding that the new 4G li­cense is good news for China Mo­bile. Con­tact the writ­ers at li­tao@chi­nadai­lyhk.com and em­madai@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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