China Telecom has kicked off its 4G mobile network in nearly 100 cities.
The third-largest telecom carrier in the country is becoming the second mobile service provider to offer the services in China, after China Mobile.
The telecom operator plans will offer 4G on wireless data cards rather than mobile phone handsets. Till recently, Bharti Airtel, Indian telecom operator, offered 4G LTE on data cards.
China Telecom will have 7 different pricing plans from 70 yuan ($11.54) for 1 gigabyte of data traffic per month to 280 yuan ($46.16) for 10 GB of data volume every month.
The Chinese mobile infrastructure market declined 21 percent to $2 billion in the first half of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago, said Infonetics Research. China Mobile and China Telecom dragged total Capex (capital spending), while China Unicom is ahead of its spending plans.
China Telecom said all 4G data cards will support TD-LTE technology.
Telecom industry analysts expect China to have 4G service subscriber base of 440 million by 2017, after the Chinese government issued 4G licenses to 3 telecom carriers on December 4, 2013. China’s LTE market is expected to rise 127 percent year-over-year in 2013.
China Telecom’s participation in the 4G race will stir the current market and pose a challenge to China Mobile which has subscriber base of 760 million. 63 percent of China’s 1.2 billion mobile subscribers are on China Mobile’s GSM/TD-SCDMA network.
China Mobile said last December that it aims to offer 4G service in 340 cities in the country by year-end.
China Mobile is planning to sell 100 million 4G LTE smartphones in 2014. Recently, Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile, said the company will build 500,000 4G base stations across China in 2014. China Mobile is targeting sales of 190 million to 220 million mobile phones running on its wireless networks by 2014, with 100 million of those handsets running on its TD-LTE 4G network.
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