ZTE, China Mobile in 4G trial for Germany's No 3 wireless carrier

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 February, 2011, 12:00am

In a unique collaboration, mainland telecommunications industry stalwarts ZTE and China Mobile will launch a 4G trial for Germany's third-largest wireless carrier, E-Plus Group.

The pilot project will be based on the 4G standard called Time-Division Long-Term Evolution (TD-LTE), which China Mobile has adopted in its own 4G network tests across the mainland.

The term 4G stands for fourth generation of mobile wireless standards for smartphones, laptops and other wireless devices. A 4G device would deliver peak online data download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second, faster than the current 42Mbps services offered by Hong Kong 3G operators.

Shenzhen-based ZTE, the nation's second-largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, will supply the 4G base stations, while China Mobile will provide technical support.

Typically, telecommunications infrastructure development projects involve a carrier that orders the equipment and the contracted supplier which helps to install it. The German carrier, however, saw China Mobile's TD-LTE expertise based on its own 4G network trials as important, prompting it to enlist the operator for technical support in ZTE's project.

The field trial, on E-Plus' recently acquired 2.6-gigahertz radio spectrum in Germany, will start this quarter, according to ZTE. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ZTE yesterday announced its collaboration with China Mobile, the world's largest wireless network operator, after the Global TD-LTE Initiative was launched at the Mobile World Congress trade exhibition and forum in Barcelona on Monday.

China Mobile, which had 584 million subscribers as of December, is leading the initiative to promote use of the mainland-backed TD-LTE 4G standard worldwide.

TD-LTE, like the parallel 4G standard called frequency-division duplexing (FDD) LTE that is being deployed by other mobile carriers, would deliver at least 100 Mbps.

According to Hong Kong-listed ZTE, the 4G field trial with E-Plus this year will 'consist of several streams to investigate the capabilities of its commercial software-defined radio (SDR) equipment' and best use of the German carrier's spectrum holdings, which also include 1.8GHz and 2.1GHz.

That SDR technology was also adopted by Hong Kong operator CSL, which introduced Asia's first commercial 4G network in the city last December.

ZTE's 4G base station products are the first in its industry that are designed to handle both TD-LTE and FDD-LTE 4G network standards.

China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou said on Monday that the carrier wanted to build a strong market of TD-LTE users and suppliers.

'Besides China, more than 20 TD-LTE trial networks have been built in India, Europe, and North America,' Wang said.

China Mobile and SK Telecom, the largest wireless network operator in South Korea, last month said they planned to step up their 4G deployment initiatives after recently completing a joint trial in a small city near Seoul.

With China Mobile leading the way, the mainland is expected to account for nearly half of an estimated 120 million new high-speed 4G mobile connections across the Asia-Pacific in the next five years, according to market research firm Wireless Intelligence.

New connections

China is expected, in the next five years, to account for this number of new high-speed 4G connections: 120m