Hong Kong cellco CSL has launched what it claims is the world’s first commercial 1800MHz/2600MHz dual-band 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network for users of its premium brand ‘1O1O’, following an expansion and upgrade contract awarded to ZTE in May. Having launched LTE services in the 2600MHz band in November 2010, CSL’s latest network upgrade is based on Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology allowing dual band LTE frequencies (1800MHz and 2600MHz) in a single radio cell. According to a company press release, the result is significant savings of ‘up to the equivalent of five times the space’, and increased future network stability, whilst the quality of service can be enhanced as user devices will select the strongest frequency band based on location. Mark Liversidge, chief marketing officer for 1O1O, said: ‘With a mature, stable network already in place, 1O1O is in a uniquely strong position to continue enhancing 4G coverage with this LTE SDR technology.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that CSL carried out its November 2010 launch of a dual-mode LTE/Dual-Carrier HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+) network for selected corporate 1O1O users, using the 2600MHz band for LTE, before extending LTE services for existing consumer 1O1O subscribers in May 2011, and making LTE available for all CSL customers in August 2011. In February 2012 CSL launched voice for LTE handset users via Circuit Switch Fallback, and the company claimed the world’s first LTE international roaming with Korea’s SK Telecom, for 1O1O users in June 2012. It has rolled out its LTE/DC-HSPA+ network to over 90% of Hong Kong’s population, and is preparing for the rollout of LTE-Advanced technology.
CSL New World Mobility (registered as CSL Limited) is a group operating three very distinct brands, 1O1O, One2Free and New World. According to GlobalComms, the cellco was established as Hong Kong CSL in 1983, and its 1O1O premium brand launched in 1993 – alongside the launch of an upgrade to a GSM platform that year – before it launched ‘lifestyle brand’ One2Free in 1996. In 1997 New World Mobility (NWM) launched, establishing itself as a ‘no frills’ brand, and in 2006 Hong Kong CSL merged with NWM to form CSL New World Mobility. 2008 saw the relaunch of One2Free pre-paid services to attract a broader customer base, as well as the formation of a new joint venture, New World Mobility Limited, established with Telecom Digital Mobile, to market NWM’s value-for-money services (with the offshoot issued an MVNO licence at the end of that year).