Local units of China Mobile recently began closing down 3G-only base stations, which used the homegrown TD-SCDMA technology, as the operator shifts its focus to 4G, according to Caixin Online.
The process has started in several provinces, including Jiangsu in eastern China, said a source. A China Mobile employee described it as an “irresistible trend”.
China Mobile denied there was a large-scale plan to close down 3G base stations.
In many places, the report said, the operator has upgraded TD-SCDMA base stations to also support 4G. Where this is impossible then the base stations are being closed “sooner or later”.
The shutdown decision did not originate in China Mobile’s headquarters but is being made by local units. How many base stations have been phased out is unclear.
The operator began rolling out its TD-SCDMA-based network after China’s government decided the country needed an indigenous 3G standard. However, it has not picked up the traction of rival 3G offerings, hastening China Mobile’s shift to 4G.