China Mobile to begin 4G network trials in 6 cities

China's largest mobile operator has been given the go-ahead to start large-scale tests of its fourth-generation (4G) mobile network technology in six Chinese cities.

China Mobile, which has 579 million customers, reported that the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has approved a proposal to start the tests. The trials would be held in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen.

China Mobile offered no timetable of when the trials will begin. The tests are meant to see how the 4G networks can be used commercially.

The carrier's 4G technology would allow cellphone users to exchange data at faster speeds using China's domestically developed TD-LTE technology.

China Mobile's third-generation network (3G) was launched at the start of 2009 using another homegrown wireless standard called TD-SCDMA. The carrier currently has 18.8 million users on its 3G network.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology began technical tests of TD-LTE since 2008. China Mobile said the ministry will be organizing the large-scale tests, with network suppliers such as Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks participating.