China Mobile HK to launch 4G next week

Fiona Chau
20 Apr 2012

China Mobile Hong Kong, the wholly-owned subsidiary of China Mobile, said it will launch LTE service next week, making it the second mobile carrier in the city to go live with 4G network.

Sean Lee, director and CEO of China Mobile HK, said the operator will start offering 4G services on April 25, with more than one LTE handset model available at the launch.

The company will roll out a total of 10 LTE handsets as well as 7 models of 4G tablets, USB modems and pocket Wi-Fi devices this year.

China Mobile will offer a handset discount for 4G subscribers and introduce three data plans for 4G services priced “similar” to those of its 3G service, Lee said, but declined to provide the exact numbers. At present China Mobile is charging its 3G service from HK$88/month (200MB) to HK$218/month (unlimited data plan).

China Mobile HK’s 4G customers can also use mobile internet services in mainland China without the need to pay any roaming data charges, Lee added.

The cross-border data sharing plan, which is the first of its kind in Hong Kong, he said, offers users the convenience and flexibility of a single number and data price plans in Hong Kong when roaming in China.

With the 4G launch, China Mobile HK will become the city’s second mobile operator to offer commercial 4G service. Telstra-owned CSL launched last year its LTE services through its one2free brand with the launch of an LTE dongle.

Genius Brand, the joint venture between Hutchison Telecom and Hong Kong Telecom, the telecom arm of PCCW, also plans to launch its LTE network this year.

China Mobile HK acquired the 2.6GHz FDD spectrum in 2009, and also paid HK$150 million ($19.3 million) for an additional 30MHz of spectrum in the 2.3 GHz TDD band for its 4G network.

The LTE network, to be launched next Wednesday, operates on the 2.6GHz frequency band and the company plans to scale up its network coverage to a level on par with its current 2G network by year-end, Lee said.

The company will also launch the TDD/LTE network on the 2.3GHz band by year-end as part of its parent, China Mobile’s push for the global deployment of TD-LTE technology.

A number of mobile operators in Asia and Europe, such as Bharti Airtel and Softbank Mobile, already launched 4G services using TD-LTE technology.

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