Country set to lead telecoms revolution

Updated: 2013-09-24 06:40

By Shen Jingting (China Daily)

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Latest technology will change lives and work for people, says official

China is expected to become the world's biggest Long Term Evolution (LTE) fourth-generation market in the near future, even though the country is still waiting for final approval from the government regarding the issuing of 4G licenses.

The country is about to embrace a critical phase for developing its LTE industry, said Wen Ku, director of the department of science and technology at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, at an LTE forum held in Beijing on Monday.

According to the vision from the Strategy and Implementation Plan of Broadband China, China's penetration rate of 3G/LTE users will reach 85 percent - totaling 1.2 billion users by 2020. At that time, the nation's LTE network will basically cover both urban and rural areas.

"Developing LTE has become a trend worldwide and the Chinese government is handing out full support for it," Wen said.

Premier Li Keqiang said in an executive meeting of the State Council, the country's cabinet, in July that China will speed up work to issue licenses for the 4G mobile network this year.

Paul Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of mobile chipset maker Qualcomm Inc, expected China to become the world's largest LTE market in less than five years as soon as the country's regulator grants licenses for telecom operators.

"The progress could move quite fast since China has already been the biggest smartphone market globally," Jacobs said in an interview with China Daily during the forum.

The entry of the LTE era will introduce a significant change in Chinese society and customers will get the most benefits from the process, Jacobs said.

"The LTE technology is likely to change how people work, transform the healthcare sector and enable new ways for people to learn," Jacobs said.

Cher Wang, chairwoman of Taiwan-based smartphone vendor HTC Corp, said the accelerated commercialization and globalization of LTE will bring about a significant change in the economic landscape.

"In addition, it will also bring a great opportunity to the development of the mobile industry chain," Wang added. HTC manufactured the world's first LTE smartphone and the company is preparing for the market launch of its first smartphone supporting the Chinese homegrown Time Division-Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) 4G standard.

LTE is a common global telecommunication standard, that includes frequency division duplex and time division duplex modes for paired and unpaired spectrums.

According to the latest data from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, 213 LTE commercial networks had been deployed globally as of Sept 5, up 67 networks from the end of last year. Meanwhile, the number of LTE global connections exceeded 126 million.

Wen, from the Ministry of Industry and Technology, said the LTE 4G technology will act as a driver for China's high-tech industry development. "LTE will provide a platform for innovation and help create opportunities for many companies," Wen said.

The State Council has issued guidance in August to call for boosting domestic information-sector consumption. The country hopes information use will become another key area of the economy after real estate and automobiles.

However, LTE development will usher in challenges, as well as opportunities for China. "One of the major challenges is how companies can speed up innovation to bring innovative products to customers and the experience of the best value," said Chen Yi, vice-president of mobile technology with Youku Tudou Inc, a Chinese online video company.

 Country set to lead telecoms revolution

A China Mobile Ltd stand at an international software and information services expo in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. The country is expected to have 1.2 billion 3G/LTE users by 2020. Liu Jianhua / for China Daily

(China Daily 09/24/2013 page16)