China may soon start the commercial use of its homegrown fourth-generation (4G) telecommunication technology, providing the system is fully developed.
That's according to comments by Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile Communications Co, the parent of world's largest telecom carrier by subscriber numbers.
Wang made the remarks during a break of the ongoing Fourth Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the nation's top advisory body.
He also said Softbank Telecom Co is planning to deploy the first commercial Time Division-Long Term Evolution technology (TD-LTE) network in Japan by the end of the year.
TD-LTE is the next generation telecommunication standard which has been in development by China Mobile since late 2007. It provides a radical increase in the speed of data transmission through a 4G network.
China will finish large-scale testing of the TD-LTE network by mid-2012, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. However, Wang pointed out that this is simply a time frame for the testing process, and even when the technology is deployed, it may still be subject to tests.
"When TD-LTE goes into commercial use in China depends on when the technology is mature," Wang told China Daily.
In January, China began wide-ranging tests of TD-LTE technology in six major cities; Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen.
However, Wang revealed on Thursday that there are now seven cities conducting large-scale tests, but did not disclose the name of the additional location.
"TD-LTE will converge with the Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) - where one frequency band is used to transmit and another to receive - which is the other 4G standard that has been widely adopted by foreign carriers," Wang said.
The major task of the "Global TD-LTE Initiative", which was launched last month in Barcelona, Spain, is to develop mobile phones with combined TDD - Time Division Duplex, where a single frequency channel is assigned to both the transmitter and the receiver - and FDD facilities, according to China Mobile.
"I hope in the era of 4G, nobody will have to talk about which wireless standard to choose, because everyone will be able to access both TDD and FDD by using the same handset," Wang said.
Major international chip makers, mobile phone manufacturers and telecom carriers have reached a consensus to accelerate the convergence process. Manufacturers of mobile phone semiconductors, or chips, such as Qualcomm Inc and Samsung Electronics Co have already developed chips that support both technologies.
The rapid development of the telecom industry globally means that the spectrum for signal receivership has become limited. Wang said TD-LTE is well placed to quicken the pace of becoming a global technology as the majority of the spectrum auctioned worldwide has been allocated to TDD.