China Mobile to offer 4G services in Hong Kong

Chinese telco to begin cross-border 4G wireless service in Hong Kong on Apr. 25, which would allow subscribers cheaper roaming rates in China, reports note.

China Mobile plans to start fourth-generation (4G) wireless services in Hong Kong later this month, becoming the second operator after CSLto do so in the country.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the telco's Hong Kong arm will roll out the service on Apr. 25, and will offer more than one 4G handset to consumers at the same time. It aims to introduce a total of 10 4G-based phones by end-2012, noted Sean Lee, CEO of China Mobile Hong Kong, in the report.

Discounts for these handsets will be offered to the company's 4G subscribers, and the data packages will be priced close to existing 3G services, he added. The CEO also said the high-speed LTE technology offers maximum download speeds of 10 megabits per second, and will be 50 times faster than 3G.

According to a separate report by the South China Morning Post, the 4G service allows for cross-border data sharing, which makes it cheaper for Hong Kong subscribers to access wireless services in China. Tiger Lin Zhenhui, chairman of China Mobile Hong Kong, was cited in the report saying that with its 4G service, the company has lowered the cost for Internet users wanting to keep the flexibility and ease of using their Hong Kong mobile service in China.

The Chinese telco is currently still testing its 4G trial network, based on LTE TDD (Long-Term Evolution Time-Division Duplex) technology, in China.

ABI Research on Thursday pointed out that despite the lack of 4G licenses, the company continues to invest in its 4G facilities. The telco plans to increase its TD-LTE base stations from 20,000 by end-2012 and 200,000 by 2013, the research firm noted.