Global Update: FDD-LTE permits allotted to Chinese telcos

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4GThe Chinese government will be issuing FDD-LTE 4G licences permits to the domestic company China Telecom and China Unicom by end of this week, that would cover the entire country, according to media report.

The first 4G licences approved by the China government last December were for TD-LTE (using unpaired spectrum). Both telecom companies are expected to get licences to roll out the FDD variant of LTE shortly.

China Unicom added 83,000 users in January, a record low, to have 299 million users in total, only one-third of China Mobile's 838 million users. Two weeks ago, both have reportedly applied for a third batch of hybrid 4G trials that would extend coverage to a total of 237 cities.

Presently, China Telecom and Unicom have approval to operate so-called hybrid TDD-FDD LTE network trials in 40 cities. China Unicom, the countries' second-biggest mobile service provider has added 83,000 users in January, a record low, to have 299 million users in total.

“Unicom had 2.7 million 4G connections and Telecom had 1.3 million, while China Mobile had 41 million,” according to GSMA Intelligence.

“The both telecom service provider have received permits to roll out trial hybrid TDD/FDD LTE networks in 16 cities in June and by the end of the year they were able to offer services in 56 cities,” a report stated. Earlier, “The company’s plans to invest about RMB 80 billion (~$13 billion) in capital expenditures this year, half of which would be spent on rolling out its 4G network,” had said Wang Xiaochu, China Telecom Chairman.

“China Mobile aims to add 250 million 4G customers by the end of 2015. It had more than 100 million 4G customers at the end of January and 700,000 base stations. It will add another 300,000 base stations this year, as well as bringing out a broader range of low-cost 4G handsets,” a report said.

In addition, China Mobile's 4G service is based on China's homegrown TD-LTE standard. China Telecom and China Unicom have been waiting for FDD LTE licences to enable them to offer full, smartphone-based 4G services of their own.

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