Our next stop finds us in China. Considering it is the most populated country on the planet, with approximately 1.2 billion inhabitants, China is worth our attention based on numbers alone.
So what’s happening in China right now with LTE? Well, currently, China Mobile (CMCC) is in the pre-commercial trial stage. Its large-scale trial (LST) has been going on for a few years and they plan to deploy 200,000 base stations this year for the trial. This infrastructure is expected to support the operator’s eventual commercial service, so this is not your run-of-the-mill trial. At the same time, things are – for now – up in the air. There is a lot of uncertainty on when the trial will be completed.
China Mobile (CMCC) is the largest carrier in the world, with more than 500 million subscribers. Two other Chinese carriers, China Telecom and China Unicom had the opportunity to upgrade to GSM. Thus, two types of “western” 3G operating systems, WCDMA and EVDO, were introduced into the mix. What that means is that China Mobile began to come back to the pack a bit on the technology side. But not to worry. I am sure they will recover quickly, as is expected, given the competitive Chinese culture.
China was, until recently, the leader in TD-LTE. They were the force behind standardizing and driving the ecosystem in the development of TD-LTE products. But then they were bypassed because other counties began deploying TD-LTE and China was left behind. I would argue that Japan, Brazil and India have arguably surpassed them in deployment.
What is, of course, always there is that everyone would love to have a seat at the table in the world of Chinese telecom just due to the mere market size. Keeping in mind that the Chinese vendors will have a significant advantage, I am still hopeful that companies like Altair will be able to get a piece of the pie.
If I could sum up the Chinese market into one word it would be “dynamic.” China Telecom is definitely one to watch. Word has it that it will be receiving an FD-LTE license in mid-2013. Competition is in the air in China and we will be watching closely.