China Mobile, the world largest mobile operator, is understood to have awarded a number of contracts for its 20 billion yuan (£1.9bn) 4G network roll-out. Reuters reported in August that the major Chinese mobile infrastructure providers ZTE and Huawei had won around 50% of the work.
Later reports, including one from Reuters claim that Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) have won a further third of the work between them. The awards will provide a significant sales boost to the Western vendors as China is the largest mobile phone market in the world with around 1 billion subscribers.
A report from Telecom Asia claimed that other Chinese domestic equipment vendors Datang Mobile, FiberHome Technologies, Potevio and New Postcom will account for the rest of the work.
China Mobile’s 4G network will cover 31 provinces with 207,000 TD-LTE base stations. As of July 2013, China Mobile said it had 744 million subscribers – approximately 66%-70% of the total market - of which 147 million were 3G users.
China has yet to award 4G licences, although they are due to be issued soon. These are expected to be based on TD-LTE (time division LTE) technology, largely developed in China, but analysts suggest that the government may award FDD-LTE (frequency division duplexing LTE) licences at a later date.
China Mobile’s rivals China Telecom and China Unicom are believed to be looking at developing hybrid TD-LTE and FDD-LTE networks.