China’s mobile market is about to get a significant boost, one of the 4G variety. While the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported over a week ago that China’s 4G network would be switched on December 18th, what remained to be seen was how the country’s major telecommunication companies would be licensed to access it. Today we have received our answer.
China’s three major mobile carriers, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom will all receive access to China’s homegrown TD-LTE network, while China Telecom and China Unicom will also receive licenses for the more popular and international FDD-LTE network.
This is not China’s first experience with 4G speeds, as a few Chinese cities have experimented with the technology in the past. However, those experiments were just that and were limited to the cities they were placed in. December 18th represents the day China’s nationwide 4G network is turned on. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Chinese citizens will still be limited to 3G or slower speeds as the “nationwide” network currently only supports the nation’s largest cities.
This development also allows China Mobile to add the iPhone to their list of supported devices. The iPhone is not compatible with its current 3G-SCDMA network.
Jumping into the 4G future cost China a pretty penny, with its original investment into the network totaling 500 billion yuan ($82 billion USD) and is estimated to reach as high as 1 trillion yuan by the end of the project.