China Telecom, playing catch-up in the 4G game after receiving its licence for LTE-FDD in late February, is making carrier aggregation (CA) an important part of the next phase of its 4G development.
Sun Zhenqiang, director of wireless research at China Telecom Research Institute, said it will gradually implement CA because of its advantages in handling data traffic, particularly as demand for HD video rises, C114.net reported.
Its strategy is to use the middle-frequency bands (1.8 and 2.1GHz) for the bulk of its coverage and capacity, low-frequency spectrum (700 and 800MHz) to expand coverage in rural areas, and high-frequency bands (2.6GHz) to add capacity in high demand locations.
The country’s third largest mobile operator has launched commercial CA networks in 17 cities.
Meanwhile, China Unicom has moved ahead with CA pilots in Jiangsu, Shanxi and other provinces in the second half, while China Mobile, the 4G leader by a wide margin, started CA trials in Shenzhen in January and moved to tri-band CA trial in Guangzhou in June.
In less than two years, the three operators have built more than 1.3 million LTE base stations and plan to have two million by the end of the year. Their 4G connections expanded to 240 million at the end of Q2, according to GSMA Intelligence.
China Mobile has 189.6 million 4G connections and a 79 per cent share of the segment. China Telecom added 22 million 4G connections in the first six months of the year, taking its total to 29 million, while China Unicom has 21.6 million, after picking up 17.5 million connections in H1, according to GSMA Intelligence.