Nokia in talks with Airtel, Reliance Jio, China Mobile for TD-LTE smartphones on 4G networks

Telecom Lead India: Phone major Nokia is in talks with Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and China Mobile for launching TD LTE smartphones on their 4G networks.

Launching TD-LTE phones will boost the current 4G network initiatives of Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and China Mobile. Lack of availability of cost effective 4G phones is one of the reasons for slow growth of 4G in some of the markets in the Asia Pacific region, where TD-LTE networks are being deployed.

A senior official with Nokia India said discussions are currently on with these telecom operators, among others. “LTE will be one of the focus areas in coming months.”

The official, however, declined to specify launch date.

If the 4G network launch by three major operators – Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and China Mobile – reaches certain stage, LTE phones will become more cost effective. This development will prompt other mobile handset makers to unveil more products.

In China, China Unicom and China Telecom are also launching 4G on the TD-LTE network.

Besides LG, which announced its TD-LTE phone launch plans last week, Huawei and ZTE are betting on TD-LTE phones.

According to IHS, China Mobile is moving ahead with TD-LTE in advance of its two main domestic rivals, China Unicom and China Telecom, and is expected to account for the majority of the country’s subscribers until 2017.

The IHS report says the number of China Mobile TD-LTE subscribers is forecast to reach 228.8 million in 2017, representing 52 per cent of China’s 439.9 million total TD-LTE users. In comparison, TD-LTE users from China Unicom and China Telecom will number 114.4 million and 96.8 million, respectively.

According to Yankee Group, markets including China, India, Europe and the United States will account for more than 134 million registered TD LTE lines by 2016.

In India, Reliance Jio Infocomm, a subsidiary of the billionaire Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries, will launch 4G this year. Bharti Airtel has presence in 4 circles – Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Chandigarh, etc.

TD-LTE subscriber adoption in India will reach 5 million by 2013, according to an earlier estimate by ABI Research.

Last week, LG said it would launch TD-LTE smartphones in India this year.

BlackBerry 10 smartphones, which are currently available in India, do not support TD-LTE.

Samsung says its new version of Samsung Galaxy S4 will support TD-LTE.

In August 2012, Chinese mobile equipment maker ZTE launched the world’s first range of 1.4GHz TD-LTE terminals, including modules, USB cards, indoor CPE and outdoor CPE devices.

Baburajan K
editor@telecomlead.com