updated 12:28 pm EDT, Tue September 11, 2012
LTE base installation rate prompts change in schedule
China may be getting 4G LTE considerably earlier than previously suggested by the government. The Minister for Information and IT, Miao Wei, had previously told regional carriers that 4G permits would not be issued until 2014, however a report by Chinese state press Xinhua claims he is instead preparing to issue 4G permits next year.
The original 2014 issue date was based on a need for carriers to build more 4G base stations, and to allow handset manufacturers time to develop handsets that use the new connections. Tests in various cities in China using 4G Long-Term Evolution Time-Division Duplex (LTE TDD) technology were seen as a breakthrough by the minister, while installations of 4G masts by carriers have taken place at a rate far higher than estimated. Combined with manufacturers working on more LTE handsets, this has pushed the timetable forward for the permits by a considerable amount of time.
China Mobile has already launched an LTE service in Hong Kong. The service allowed for up to 100Mbps connections and launched with two 4G phones, but hopes to expand the range to ten by the end of the year. [via ZDNet]