China Telecom launches FDD LTE in 16 cities

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

China Telecom has launched FDD LTE services in 16 cities including Shanghai, weeks after being granted approval to conduct live network trials.

The company is offering service packages ranging in price from 49 yuan ($7.90) to 599 yuan, Shanghai Daily reported. Also on offer are data-only packages starting at 49 yuan for 2GB of local data traffic.

China Telecom is offering 15 LTE-capable handsets from vendors including Huawei, and plans to have 75 models available by the end of the year.

At launch, the “trial” network covers 90% of Shanghai, according to China Telecom Shanghai. The company plans to invest around 4 billion yuan to take this up to 98% by the end of 2015.

China Telecom launched TD-LTE services in February, but has been waiting for approval to roll out its preferred technology choice FDD LTE.

Three weeks ago, Chinese regulator MIIT granted China Telecom and rival China Unicom approval to conduct hybrid FDD/TDD LTE network trials in 16 cities.

China Telecom's trial license covers the cities of Shanghai, Xi'an, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing, Jinan, Hefei, Shijiazhuang, Haikou, Zhengzhou, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Nanchang, Nanning and Lanzhou.

The government's decision to award TD-LTE licenses before FDD LTE licenses has given mobile incumbent China Mobile a head-start in the 4G segment – the operator launched LTE services in December last year.

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