China Mobile has escalated efforts to widen the adoption of time-division duplex long-term evolution (TDD-LTE) technology - the high-speed 4G standard backed by the mainland - with a major network build-out in Hong Kong and an international roaming pact with a US carrier.
The Beijing-based wireless network, the world's largest with 677.5 million subscribers at the end of May, yesterday said it had selected Sweden's Ericsson and mainland supplier ZTE to build an TDD-LTE network for its Hong Kong unit, which will combine that new infrastructure with its existing high-speed network that supports the other 4G standard known as frequency division duplex long-term evolution (FDD-LTE).
Financial terms of that deal were not given, except that Ericsson and ZTE have a 50-50 share of the network construction.
Sean Lee, chief executive of China Mobile Hong Kong, said the 'seamless integration' of FDD-LTE and TDD-LTE networks would allow the carrier to provide dual-mode 4G services by the end of this year.
Advanced 4G networks have theoretical internet download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second. The fastest existing 3G networks run at 42Mbps. China Mobile Hong Kong is licensed to run 4G services on both the 2.3-gigahertz and 2.6GHz frequency bands.
Mats Olsson, president of Ericsson China and North East Asia, said the project 'further consolidates our network leadership in the region'.
Ericsson, the world's biggest telecommunications equipment supplier, is involved in 67 4G LTE projects in 30 countries.
ZTE helped CSL, the largest wireless network operator in Hong Kong, construct and launch the city's first commercial 4G FDD-LTE network in 2010.
China Mobile had earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with US wireless broadband services provider Clearwire to define and develop the processes needed to support mobile roaming services on their respective 4G TDD-LTE networks. The partners described their initiative as 'a blueprint' for future roaming deals with other 4G network operators.
'Our goal is to make a converged market in which our subscribers roam between a TDD-LTE network and an FDD-LTE network at affordable cost, and enjoy the benefit of this service globally,' said Tiger Lin (pictured), chairman of China Mobile International, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed China Mobile.
Shares of China Mobile rose 1.57 per cent yesterday to reach HK$87.60, its highest close since August 4, 2008.
The mainland's two other telecommunications network operators saw an uptick in their share prices yesterday.
China Unicom was up 5.36 per cent to finish at roughly a four-week high of HK$10.02. China Telecom shares climbed the highest at 6.78 per cent to finish at HK$3.62, the carrier's highest close since hitting HK$3.72 on May 16.
China Mobile shares rose by this much yesterday, their highest close since August 4, 2008