China Unicom is all set to equip itself for the imminent 4G licensing process and has set off to test a 4G TD-LTE network. Usually dealing in the FDD-LTE mobile internet technology, this testing comes as a precautionary move for the player in case its usual technology is not favored in the licensing process.
The second largest mobile phone operator of the mainland is believed to have taken this preemptive action to keep itself equipped for the 4G licenses to be expectedly awarded by the government before 2013 end. If a strategy similar to that of the 3G auction is followed, when the TD-LTE networks licenses were awarded, China Mobile, the biggest competitor of China Unicom, would get a big edge.
Following a 55% upward surge in the first-half profit, Unicom’s Chairman, Chang Xiaobing, stated that the company has already begun investment on TD-LTE mobile wireless technology and testing would commence in major cities. Hong Kong-listed China Unicom would be funding the project, rather than CUNCCL, the controlling company, which has earlier funded certain network tests of Unicom.
Chang expressed an urge to get prepared following anticipations that Beijing would be licensing TD-LTE first. It finds favor with Beijing, since the core technologies of the mobile internet network are created by Chinese companies. The technology was designed with the Chinese market in mind and is estimated to cater to a quarter of the international market by 2016.
The infrastructure of Unicom primarily supports FDD-LTE, the dominant 4G technology across the globe. Among the 156 commercial networks in operation worldwide in March 2013 pertaining to this technology, 14 were TD-LTE networks and 142 FDD-LTE. A FDD-LTE network of China Mobile is in operation in Hong Kong and efforts to integrate the same with the mainland\\\\\\\'s TD-LTE market is in progress.
As revealed by Chang, the capital expenditure of Unicom will remain within the full year budget amounting to 80 billion yuan (approximately $12.96 billion), in spite of the planned investment in TD-LTE networks.
As per media reports, the other major mobile phone operator in the mainland, China Telecom Corp Ltd, will rent out TD-LTE 4G infrastructure of China Mobile. It is not clear whether Unicom would do the same
Source: daily news
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