China Mobile will expand its 4G networks in 2012, adding between 10,000 and 20,000 additional base stations, reports Digitimes, citing the cellco’s vice chairman Xi Guohua. China Mobile, in conjunction with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), has set up Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) networks in six cities in China as part of an ongoing trial of the platform. The initial stage of testing of the networks was completed earlier this month, and the second phase is expected to be finished by June 2012.
The cellco, the largest in the world by subscribers, hopes to hasten the commercial deployment of LTE technology to meet the rising demand for mobile internet and data services. China Mobile has also been a key proponent of the TD-LTE platform, and has encouraged its uptake overseas. Xi claimed that at the end of October 2011, there were 30 networks using the technology worldwide. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of September 2011 China was home to 101.8 million 3G users, representing more than 10% of the nation’s wireless customers. The 3G market in China has expanded at an explosive rate: y-o-y growth for the segment at the end of September 2011 was 191%.