CSL to launch speedy 4G network next week

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 November, 2010, 12:00am

CSL, Hong Kong's largest wireless network operator, is set to formally introduce its 4G service in Hong Kong on Thursday.

It will be the first carrier in Asia to launch the super-fast mobile service.

The firm, a unit of Australian telecommunications giant Telstra Corp, sent out invitations yesterday to media and selected customers for what it described as 'a milestone event' about 'the next generation of mobile communications'.

That followed a keynote speech on Wednesday by CSL chief executive Joseph O'Konek at the Mobile Asia Congress, where he said the carrier would launch a dual-band 4G network based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

Most industry analysts expected NTT DoCoMo to be the first to launch an LTE network in Asia next month, when the Japanese mobile market leader's Xi 4G service is due to start commercial operations.

CSL's 4G network, which was designed and built by ZTE Corp, will provide peak download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, faster than the estimated 42Mbps speed that CSL and rivals SmarTone-Vodafone and PCCW offer on their 3G networks.

LTE network users can complete the download of a 3-D high-definition movie in about 26 minutes, compared with 132 minutes over existing 3G networks based on the so-called Evolved High-Speed Packet Access technology.

A CSL spokeswoman said 4G network deployment by ZTE across Hong Kong started in July this year.

The carrier, which paid HK$523 million for its new 4G spectrum, will have its LTE network coverage over the 1800-megahertz and 2600MHz bands, which also makes it the world's first commercial dual-cell 4G service.

Market research firm Wireless Intelligence forecasts that Hong Kong will have 1.4 million 4G connections by 2015, compared with 57.9 million on the mainland the same year. It predicts CSL will have a dominant 40 per cent 4G market share that year.

During its 4G launch next week at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, CSL will provide several 'demonstration zones' to show how its LTE network will support richer and faster applications at home and at work.

The 4G service is expected to start with high-speed data access using notebook computers, with ZTE providing the USB modems, or dongles, attached to the laptop. A range of LTE-ready handsets is expected to be available next year.

Regional pioneer

Carrier will be first in Asia to offer the fast network technology

The 4G network will be capable of peak download speeds of, in megabits per second: 100