China Mobile launched its converged FDD/TD-LTE network in Hong Kong Tuesday, as the mobile carrier moves closer towards a nationwide rollout of TD-LTE next year, but did not say when it will start selling service packages.
The anticipated converged 4G network integrates China Mobile Hong Kong’s current FDD/LTE network with the home-grown TD-LTE technology operating on the 2300-MHz band that the operator acquired in February.
At the commercial launch in Hong Kong yesterday, China Mobile Hong Kong demonstrated a live seamless bi-directional LTE FDD/TDD interworking via the converged network. China Mobile also made a video call to the TD-LTE network in Shenzhen, using the ZTE dual-mode FDD/TD-LTE handset.
Tiger Lin, chairman of China Mobile HK, said the addition of TD-LTE will significantly increase network capacity and help the company to cope with the explosive growth of mobile data traffic driven by the widespread proliferation of smartphones.
With the converged network, Lin added, China Mobile Hong Kong customers can also enjoy seamless 4G roaming between Hong Kong and China, using dual-mode FDD/TD-LTE devices, which are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2013.
This will give them access to China Mobile’s TD-LTE service when they are traveling in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hangzhou. Lin said the company will continue to extend the roaming service to all of the 13 cities where China Mobile has a trail TD-LTE network.
Sean Lee, CEO of China Mobile HK, said the company will initially offer the converged 4G service to selected corporate users in the city. He declined to reveal when the company would introduce commercial service, saying the launch time depends on the maturity of the service and availability of handsets.
He said the converged network initially covers key commercial areas, but the company hasn’t yet any timeframe about the expansion plan.