China Mobile on Track to enable 200,000 LTE Towers

China Mobile is on track to enable 200,000 TD-LTE base stations by end-2013 (the majority an upgrade of existing TD-SCDMA infrastructure at 1.9GHz and this network would cover more than 100 Chinese cities, or c500m people.

China Mobile aimed to procure c100m TD-LTE devices in 2013. While many of these will be datacards, this suggests the ‘commercial trial’ in 2013 will be more commercial than trial. This means TD-LTE services will arrive sooner than the 2014-15 time frame the bears on the stock have expected.

China Mobile has been an improvement in the whole TD ecosystem, not just TD-LTE. We expect TD-SCDMA to remain the primary driver
of growth in 2013 and 1H14.

China Mobile’s 3G For the past two years, 3G net adds had trended at 1-2m, before jumping to 5.5m in December, and now 7m in January. This suggests that 3G Handsets are finally attractive enough to drive large-scale upgrades from 2G. 2G subscribers declined for only the second month in January 2013.

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