China Mobile to Offer 4G LTE in Hong Kong

The world’s biggest mobile telco by subscriber count is launching its high-speed Internet service in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region this April, and will likewise offer handsets compatible with the 4G LTE standard when it launches the new data plans.

According to MIC Gadget, China Mobile will be the second mobile operator to offer 4G in Hong Kong, after CSL run by Telstra Corp. China Mobile will be using the 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) standard, similar to the preferred 4G standard used in the U.S. and other western countries. Said standard will support up to 100 Mbps connectivity, or about 50 times faster than a standard 3G connection (which usually has a rate of 2 Mbps).

The company had recently made a successful bid for additional spectrum allocation, which gave China Mobile access to the 2330 to 2360 MHz time-division duplex (TDD), which adds to the 2600 MHz frequency-division duplex (FDD) spectrum obtained in 2009 for data purposes.

However, China Mobile will be using two different standards in its China and Hong Kong 4G deployments. The telco will use TDD in China, while its Hong Kong deployment will use FDD. China Mobile plans to do a dual-mode LTE deployment in the future, which should improve compatibility with worldwide standards. China Mobile will start with 20,000 LTE base stations this year, bringing it up to 200,000 in 2013.

China Mobile will also launch a number of LTE-enabled handsets once it launches LTE in Hong Kong. Sources say that 4G plans will be priced close to the current 3G subscription rates. It can be noted that Hong Kong has twice as many mobile subscribers than its population, at 15.1 million mobile phones owned by 7.1 million people, as of end 2011.