It is the first time that an official timescale has been put forward for the fourth generation internet network, which at least means that the UK will not be alone in twiddling its thumbs due to a prolonged wait for the high speed broadband technology.
According to minister Miao Wei it will be “three to five years” before the state is ready to fully implement TD-LTE technology, meaning that 2014 will likely be the earliest a 4G network is seen.
The TD-LTE high speed broadband is currently being tested in a number of cities in China, including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Xiamen, though it is believed that the government will not authorise the large scale roll out until it is clear that the technology is ready.
The head of China Mobile, Wang Jianzhou, recently noted that this will only happen “when the technology is mature”, and it is indeed thought that this is one of the reasons for the delay.
Another reason for the long wait for the service, which the Minister confirmed would not be arriving any time soon, is due to the money that has already been ploughed in to the 3G network, which has cost billions of yen for construction and upgrading of the network.
“It is also obvious that the Chinese government doesn’t want to adopt a 4G service too soon as that would disrupt the carriers’ efforts to develop 3G services,” said Wang Yuquan, a senior consultant with the research firm Frost & Sullivan in China, to China.org.
The network will use the TD-LTE tech (Time Division-Long Term Evolution) as opposed to FDD-LTE (Frequency Division Duplex-Long Term Evolution) which is currently being favoured in the West by operators and manufacturers, with China hoping that TD-LTE will become the global standard instead.
Indeed China is increasingly keen to be seen as a dominant force with regards to such global standards.
TD-LTE has already been accepted by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union as a candidate, and now the UN will watch tests conducted by China Mobile, which are believed to feature big names such as Huawei, Nokia Siemens and Ericsson, to confirm that transmission standards are met.
According to Wang China Mobile is likely to adopt the TD-LTE standard, though “it is also possible China will allow carriers to adopt a different standard.”
Meanwhile Miao was unable to comment on whether multiple technologies could be used.