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LTE in China—The Next Gold Mine After 3G
In-Stat/MDR, July 2009, Pages: 45
The Chinese government has awarded 3G licenses for TD-SCDMA, WCDMA, and CDMA 2000 to China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, respectively, effectively bringing China into the 3G era. From the point of view of technical evolution, what's next for 3G?
In China, the situation is clear, as both the Chinese government and the three principal telecommunication operators have announced their support of LTE. However, the LTE strategy of each operator varies according to their current positions in the telecommunications market and their currently adopted 3G technologies.
In this report, we first provide an overview of the current mobile telecommunications market both globally and in China, followed by a brief introduction to LTE technology and In-Stat's analysis of the Chinese government's possible spectrum allocation plan for LTE. The report then analyzes in detail the driving forces behind LTE and the challenges it faces in penetrating the Chinese market. We also analyze the LTE strategies of each of China's three principal operators. Finally, we provide forecasts for LTE terminal shipments and subscribers in China through 2013.
- Mobile Telecommunications Market Overview
- GSM Still Dominates Mobile World
- Bright Future of Mobile Broadband
- Telecom Industry Benefits From Government Investment
- Technology Adoptions in China After 3G Launch
- 3G Accelerating in China
Analysis of LTE Technology
-- Key Characteristics
-- LTE-FDD: Widely Supported Worldwide
-- TD-LTE: Chinese for LTE-TDD
- Architecture Evolution from 3G to LTE/SAE
- Possible Routes to LTE
-- Different Ways, Similar Cost
-- Option 1: TD-SCDMA to LTE
-- Option 2: GSM to LTE
-- Option 3: CDMA One to LTE
- Spectrum Analysis
-- Global Spectrum Allocation Overview
-- Analysis of China’s LTE Spectrum Allocation
-- China’s Spectrum Allocation Overview
-- Three in Five Frequency Bands Assigned to LTE?
Driving Forces and Challenges for LTE in China
- Driving Forces
-- Fast Growth of Mobile Internet Use and Data Traffic
-- Increasing Bandwidth Attracts Subscribers
-- Vendors Proactively Promoting LTE
-- China’s Concern With IPR
Government Attitudes to TD-SCDMA Performance and Operator Market Share
Huge Investment in 3G
LTE Industrial Chain
- Operator LTE Strategy
-- China Mobile
-- China Unicom
-- China Telecom
Market Forecasts for LTE in China
- Nokia Siemens Networks
List of Tables
Table 1. China’s Radio Technology Adoptions After 3G Launch
Table 2. Detailed Spectrum Allocation for 2G in China
List of Figures
Figure 1. China’s LTE Subscriber Forecast, 2009–2013 (Subscribers in Thousands)
Figure 2. Subscribers Connected by Air Link as of End of 2008
Figure 3. China’s Subscriber Distribution by Air Link
Figure 4. China’s Mobile 2G and 3G Subscriber Forecasts, 2009–2013 (Subscribers in Millions)
Figure 5. Relationship Between LTE FDD/TDD and TD-LTE
Figure 6. Architecture Evolution from 3G to LTE/SAE
Figure 7. Possible Routes to LTE
Figure 8. Spectrum Allocated to IMT and/or Mobile Use in WRC07
Figure 9. Spectrum Allocation for 3G in China
Figure 10. Possible Spectrum Allocation for LTE in China
Figure 11. Mobile Internet Users in China (in Millions)
Figure 12. Broadband Technology Uplink/Downlink Speed Comparison
Figure 13. China’s Mobile GSM Subscriber Growth (Subscribers in Millions)
Figure 14. China Mobile’s Revenue Growth by Service
Figure 15. China Mobile’s TD-LTE Work Plan
Figure 16. China Unicom Subscriber Growth (Subscribers in Millions)
Figure 17. China Unicom Revenue Growth
Figure 18. China Telecom Subscriber Growth (Subscribers in Millions)
Figure 19. China’s LTE Subscriber Forecast, 2009–2013 (Subscribers in Thousands)
Figure 20. Ericsson’s Evolved Packet Core for Multi-Access
Figure 21. Roadmap of Ericsson’s Unified HW and SW Solution for LTE
Figure 22. Nokia Siemens Networks Proposed Roadmap for Radio Evolution to LTE
Figure 23. Nokia Siemens Flexi BTS Modules for GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA, and LTE
Figure 24. ZTE’s SDR Base Station Platform
Figure 25. Evolution of ZTE’s SDR to LTE
LTE the Only Road to Wireless 4G in China
Although competing 4G technologies will come to the fore in other countries, LTE will be the only route to 4G wireless service in China. TD-LTE, one of the two flavors of LTE, will receive much more support than LTE-FDD in China. In 2010, China Mobile will use TD-LTE to construct a pre-commercial LTE network.
“China Mobile will be the first operator to launch commercial LTE operation,” says Anty Zheng, In-Stat analyst. “This will happen in limited areas in 2011. China Telecom and China Unicom will, we believe, follow China Mobile’s lead.”
Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
- 2009 is the first year of China’s 3G era in which three 3G technologies (WCDMA, CDMA2000, and TD-SCDMA) have been adopted by separate operators.
- The author predicts that China’s LTE subscribers will number no more than 500,000 by 2013, and that 80% of these will be China Mobile subscribers.
- China Unicom and China Telecom will begin LTE network construction later than China Mobile, likely in 2012.
Recent research, LTE in China—The Next Gold Mine After 3G, covers the market for wireless service in China. It includes:
- Forecasts of Chinese mobile subscribers including breakouts for 3G and LTE through 2013.
- Analysis of LTE technology and of the Chinese market for it.
- Analysis of Chinese mobile operators’ strategies.
- Profiles of LTE vendors: Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, Qualcomm, ZTE.
- China Mobile
- China Telecom
- China Unicom
- Nokia Siemens Networks