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China Mobile eyes cross-Strait cooperation for beefing up 4G market

GUANGZHOU, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- China Mobile, the largest wireless service provider on the Chinese mainland, is working with Taiwanese partners to step up the development of homegrown fourth generation (4G) mobile technology, a senior official with the company said Friday.

Development of China's homegrown 4G standard, known as TD-LTE, or Time Division-Long Term Evolution, has entered a crucial stage, Xi Guohua, party secretary and vice chairman of China Mobile, said at a cross-Strait mobile technology forum held in the southern city of Guangzhou.

"The key to commercializing TD-LTE lies in the terminal. Taiwan is a global leader in the research and manufacturing of terminal products and chips. With their help, we are confident about making TD-LTE a globally-accepted standard," Xi said.

Although the Chinese mainland has made new gains in TD-LTE, a lack of self-developed terminal chips is hindering a large-scale application of the technology, said Wu Hequan, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

"However, we have not made our own handset terminal in a real sense," Wu said. "We are facing difficulties in producing terminal chips that can support TD-LTE technology."

Wu said that Taiwan has a complete value chain of producing terminal chips and products, and will be a major power to push TD-LTE abroad, Wu said.

In March, China Mobile launched six TD-LTE trial networks in the cities of Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen.

So far, the company has constructed trial networks encompassing over 850 transmission base stations, and has completed first-stage tests with seven network equipment manufacturers and three handset producers.

China Mobile is embarking on the second-stage tests, and will finish them by June, 2012. The company will build 10,000 to 20,000 TD-LTE transmission base stations in the first half of next year, Xi said.

Huang Xiaoqing, the head of China Mobile's telecommunications research institute, said last month that the TD-LTE technology can substantially lower bandwidth costs while providing faster broadband wireless services.