Tencent Tech, 1/16/09
Dong Xin, general manager of China Mobile's (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) planning department, says the operator plans to respond to current trends following the issuance of 3G licenses by stepping up work on the second phase of TD-SCDMA network construction in most cities, originally slated for completion in June.
According to local operators, the timetable for officially offering 3G services and issuing numbers has been moved up to March. Wei Lihong, GM of China Mobile's networks department, says network integration and conversion is slated for completion in 28 cities by the end of March; Dong, however, cautions that network equipment delays from some suppliers are proving a serious problem and are holding back progress on network construction.
To date, China Mobile has brought nearly 400 new base stations online as part of its second phase of network construction. 16 cities including Changsha and Fuzhou have now witnessed their first videophone calls.
Editor's Note: China Mobile had originally planned to complete TD-SCDMA coverage in the 28 second-phase cities in the first half of 2009, and subsequently bring the total number of cities with TD-SCDMA coverage to 316 by 2011. For more background on China Mobile's TD-SCDMA construction plan, please see "China Mobile Outlines TD-SCDMA Network Construction Plan", MD 12/15/08 issue.
According to Communications Weekly, information from a China Mobile internal meeting held today revealed that China Mobile plans to complete its third round of TD-SCDMA network construction before the end of July. By 2011, TD-SCDMA network coverage for prefecture-level cities is expected to reach 100%, an increase from the earlier plan of 95%.