Shenzhen first city in China to receive LTE (4G) wireless service

Posted: 05/15/2012 3:50 pm

(Image from CultofMac.com)

Living in the PRD is often like standing outside of a wild house party but having no way in… at least when it comes to technology.  We often look forlornly at the technology available on the other side of the Luohu boundary in Hong Kong, where iPhones and iPads are sold at market prices, technology is available early, and LTE is fully deployed across the territory by a number of carriers.

Fortunately for those with dreams of LTE in Shenzhen, it looks like it might not be *too* long before it shows up on this side of the boundary.

Tech-in-Asia is reporting that testing of China Mobile’s homegrown TD-LTE network will begin on Thursday this week (May 17) in Shenzhen, the first city in China to be chosen for testing.  Unfortunately, it will be a closed test, meaning it will only be available to a small selection of China Mobile’s customers.  The other issue is finding a handset that is compatible with the TD-LTE model, which is different from that used overseas.

China Mobile has apparently set up more than 3,000 service stations in Shenzhen, so service there should be pretty strong. There are currently closed test programs in nine cities, but Hangzhou is reportedly the company’s other main testing location, so it’s possible Hangzhou customers could be the next to get their hands on 4G-LTE service. But it’s likely to be quite a while before China sees a 4G network that everyone can use; the Chinese government is intentionally delaying implementation of the technology to bolster growth in the domestic 3G market.

Yes, that’s right, while Europe, North America, and nearby Hong Kong are smothered in LTE coverage (for the most part), China is still pushing a 3G standard.  So while it’s good news that LTE is being tested, don’t toss your 3G phone just yet.