China Mobile (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) has announced updated operator-customized 4G mobile terminal requirements for the company's partner suppliers. The updated requirements are as follows:
1. For all mobile terminals shipped to China Mobile for testing before June 30, 2014, each of China Mobile's partners must offer at least one TD-LTE terminal model from each product level (high-, medium, or low-end) that features near-field communication (NFC) functionality.
2. Starting on May 31, 2014, all TD-LTE mobile handsets shipped to China Mobile for testing must support five major networking standards used in China and overseas, including TD-LTE, FDD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, GSM, and WCDMA. The handsets must also meet the network access requirements of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
3. Starting on July 1, 2014, all smartphones shipped to China Mobile for testing must support three frequency bands, including Band 39, Band 40, and Band 41 (Band 41 coverage is only required to span 2575-2635MHz, China Mobile's allotted 4G spectrum band). Smartphones that retail for RMB 1,000 or higher must support all of Band 41.
4. Starting on May 31, 2014, TD-LTE data terminals sent to China Mobile for testing must support both TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE, and meet the network access requirements of the MIIT. Beginning on July 1, all TD-LTE data terminals must support three frequency bands, including Band 39, Band 40, and Band 41.
Additionally, China Mobile requires that, if its partners offer a product with NFC functionality for a different network standard, then the same product must feature NFC functionality for the TD-LTE standard. China Mobile plans to launch commercial VoLTE services before the end of 2014.
Editor's Note: 3GPP defines Bands 34, 38, 39, 40, and 41 as 2010 MHz - 2025 MHz, 2570 MHz - 2620 MHz, 1880 MHz - 1920 MHz, 2300 MHz - 2400 MHz, and 2496 MHz - 2690 MHz, respectively. In China, Bands 34, 38, 39, 40, and part of 41 are assigned as TD-LTE or TD-SCDMA. For TD-LTE operation, China Mobile gets access to 130MHz of spectrum (1880-1900 MHz, 2320-2370 MHz, 2575-2635 MHz), China Unicom gets 40MHz (2300-2320 MHz, 2555-2575 MHz) and China Telecom has 40MHz (2370-2390 MHz, 2635-2655 MHz). For more background on this topic, please see "Rumor: China Mobile to Reinstate 5-mode Requirement for 4G Chips" MD 3/07/14 issue.