(Adds comment from regulator in second paragraph.)
Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- China Mobile Communications Corp. completed the first phase of its trial of a new fourth- generation mobile network, providing a “good foundation” for nationwide adoption of the technology, a regulator said.
The six-city trial has “driven the technology forward” and helped establish a “complete production chain” that’s attracting equipment manufacturers from overseas, Chen Jiachun, deputy director of the telecommunications development department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said today in Beijing.
The phone company received ministry approval in December to begin a trial of its 4G TD-LTE network in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen. China Mobile’s homegrown third-generation network standard hasn’t been adopted outside the country, and the company has said it hopes the shift to an international high-speed network standard will help win customers with handsets including Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
Seven equipment manufacturers and six chip-set vendors participated in the initial trial, Chen said without identifying them.
The trials just finished are the first of four steps leading to eventual full-scale commercial adoption, Chen said. The remaining steps include a wide-scale technology experiment and a trial-basis commercialization.
Chen declined to estimate when commercial adoption of the technology would occur, saying it would depend on how long each step takes.
“The ministry, together with relevant parties, will mount the second-phase scale technology trial and we will accelerate the phase for the technology to go to trial-basis commercialization,” she said.
The ministry said in January that trials of the new network would take 18 months, and commercial trials likely would begin toward the end of 2012.
China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou said last month the company received a “positive answer from Apple” that it would make an iPhone for the new network. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, so far has declined to make a version of the iPhone for China Mobile’s 3G standard.
China Mobile Communications is the parent of Hong Kong- listed China Mobile Ltd., the world’s largest mobile-phone company by subscribers.
--Editors: Michael Tighe, Frank Longid
To contact the reporter on this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at email@example.com