China Mobile and Far EasTone Ink Deal on TD-LTE for Taiwan

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China Mobile, the world's largest mobile network operator by subscribers, signed a deal with Taiwanese operator Far EasTone to jointly develop a next generation TD-LTE mobile network in Taiwan for testing purposes, the companies said in a joint statement.

Far EasTone is already operating a test network based on TD-SCDMA (Time-Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), a 3G technology created in China to reduce the nation's reliance on foreign technologies. TD-LTE (TD-Long Term Evolution) is the newest technology, a generation ahead of TD-SCDMA. TD-LTE is a speedier broadband wireless technology designed for mobile Internet browsing on smartphones, laptop computers, tablet PCs and other devices. Beijing tapped China Mobile to lead its efforts in TD technology. The company's rivals in China do not use the technology.

The new TD-LTE trial network will be built in Taipei. It's designed for mobile phone makers, telecom equipment suppliers, chip makers and other companies to test new products.

Taiwan and China are working together to jointly develop a range of technology standards, including in mobile telecommunications, e-books, LEDs (light emitting diode), LCD screens, audio/video devices, Internet TV, green technologies and more.

Far EasTone trial TD-SCDMA network was opened last October and is a joint effort with the publicly-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute and National Chiao Tung University.

Another Taiwanese 3G mobile operator, Vibo Telecom, launched a trial TD-SCDMA network last November in Taipei's Neihu Technology Park, an area set aside by the government to house office buildings and research centers for high tech companies in Taiwan.

A year ago, China Mobile offered to buy a 12 percent stake in Far EasTone as part of a wide-ranging cooperation between the two companies, which includes joint technology development. The Taiwanese government rejected the proposal, saying local telecommunications companies may not sell stakes to Chinese companies over national security concerns. The two companies continue to lobby the government to change its position on the proposal.

China Mobile boasted 532.9 million subscribers as of the end of February, according to its Web site.

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