China Mobile has commenced smartphone trials for its TD-LTE (Time-Division Long-Term Evolution) network in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, but subscribers currently can only access the service through the TD-LTE version of Samsung Galaxy S3.
A Guangming Online report Thursday said the mobile service in both Chinese cities marked the country's largest TD-LTE trial. Previously, LTE services were launched in Hangzhou but were only available through customer premises equipment (CPE) routers or Mi-Fi devices.
At a media briefing, Guangdong general manager of China Mobile, Xu Long, said the LTE service in the two cities, which are located in the Guangdong province, can be accessed through CPE and Mi-Fi devices as well. It is also the first time users are able to access the next-generation wireless network through smartphones, said Xu.
However, the only smartphone model currently available that supports TD-LTE, which was developed by the Chinese government, is the Samsung Galaxy S3.
To access the LTE service with the smartphone, subscribers will need to preload 4,699 yuan (US$747) worth of credits and sign up for a 2-year plan in which 388 yuan (US$62) will be deducted each month. Existing 2G and 3G subscribers who reload 1,500 yuan (US$238) credits will receive a 4G model, a USIM card, and 15GB of LTE data for free for the first three months.
Xu said China Mobile has built 3,700 TD-LTE base stations in Guangzhou. LTE coverage in the city center and Panyu area is catching up on 3G coverage, he added. In Shenzhen, China Mobile has built 3,100 base stations and coverage of main city areas is complete, he said.