New World Development

Network giant CSL launches 4G smartphone

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2012, 12:00am


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CSL, the largest wireless network operator in Hong Kong, has teamed up with Taiwanese handset maker HTC to offer local mobile subscribers the first of a wave of new 4G smartphones set to reach the city this year.

The carrier, a unit of Australian telecommunications giant Telstra, is currently the sole network operator in Hong Kong that runs a high-speed 4G mobile infrastructure based on the industry standard called Long Term Evolution (LTE).

'We will have a full suite of 4G devices this year, including new smartphones, media tablets and routers,' said Mark Liversidge, the chief marketing officer at CSL. 'We expect to provide the new HTC device within this month.'

CSL was the first in Asia to launch a commercial 4G mobile network in November 2010, when it signed up key corporate customers as early adopters. Its LTE infrastructure was designed and built by ZTE, the mainland's second-biggest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, which also supplied the initial batch of 4G dongles used on laptop computers to access the network.

HTC, the world's largest maker of smartphones that run the Google-developed Android operating system, agreed to have its Velocity 4G handset exclusively available for pre-order from yesterday to subscribers on CSL's premium 1010 service.

The Velocity 4G features an 11.4cm touch screen, 1.5-gigahertz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera on the back and 1.3-megapixel camera in front, Bluetooth and Wi-fi support, 16 gigabytes of storage and an expansion slot for a memory card. On an LTE network connection, the HTC smartphone can deliver an internet download speed of up 100 megabits per second.

It also works on CSL's existing 3G network, which provides a download speed of up to 42Mbps.

Liversidge said the Velocity 4G, which is expected to cost around HK$5,000, will eventually be made available to subscribers on CSL's mass-market one2free service. Macquarie Securities analyst Lisa Soh said CSL's aggressive rollout of new 4G devices this year may prompt Hong Kong's other 3G mobile network operators to step up their own LTE infrastructure development plans. 'CSL has apparently resolved the issue about the lack of 4G devices to support its LTE network,' Soh said.

Hutchison Telecom and fixed-line network HKT, through their joint venture called Genius Brand, last year signed a contract with Huawei Technologies to build and deploy their 4G LTE infrastructure in Hong Kong.