After a long wait, China Mobile is expected to launch 4G services based on the homegrown TD-LTE standard on December 18, using the new brand He.
The operator will start off by launching commercial 4G in Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing, according to a report on Chinese state-owned news site Xinhua.
A December 18 launch date would mean the Chinese government allocating 4G licenses in the next few weeks. The MIIT last week awarded TD-LTE spectrum to all three mobile operators.
China Mobile rivals China Unicom and China Telecom now have to choose between adopting TD-LTE or - more likely - a dual-mode configuration, or waiting an undetermined period of time before China awards FDD-LTE spectrum (see China Mobile lands a 4G coup).
According to the report, China Mobile will invite users to switch to 4G without changing their mobile numbers. The new He brand name means “harmonious” in Chinese.
It also cites industry insiders as saying that China Mobile is in advanced talks with Apple over carrying a 4G iPhone, and expects to finally debut an iPhone officially during the December 18 4G launch.