The State Radio Regulation of China announced the allocation of TD-LTE spectrum in China. China Mobile (CM) received the broadest TD-LTE spectrum of 130 MHz vs. 40 MHz each allocated to China Telecom (CT) and China Unicom (CU). CT/CU were also allocated FD-LTE spectrum along with TD-LTE spectrum. The MIIT minister reiterated that TD-LTE licenses will be issued by the end of this year.
All the three operators are provided 4G LTE Spectrum in the 2300MHz Band (same band which has been allocated for Reliance Jio Infocomm and Airtel) and the allocation is as follows.
China Mobile – 1880 -1900 MHz, 2320-2370 MHz and 2575-2635 MHz
China Telecom – 2370-2390 MHz and also in 2635-2655 MHz
China Unicom – 2300-2320 MHz and also in 2555-2575 MHz
How Reliance Jio Infocomm benefits from Chinese Spectrum Allocation ?
With all three Chinese telcos now being allocated 2300 MHz TD spectrum, we expect Indian LTE telcos – particularly Reliance Jio Infocomm – to enjoy some scale economies and ecosystem advantage for 2300 MHz smartphones and dongles. This may lead to relatively cheaper 2300 MHz smartphones / dongles than we earlier thought. As we estimate China Mobile to launch TD-LTE commercial services in over 200 cities in mid-2014, we expect the TD-LTE smartphone ecosystem to start improving by mid-2014 Reliance Jio Infocomm and Airtel will have smartphone ecosystem advantage.
Network Gear Advantage Unclear
At this stage we are not very clear if Reliance Jio Infocomm will have a similar ecosystem advantage on the 2300MHz network equipment / gears because China Mobile intends to use 1800/2500 MHz for network rollout and 2300 MHz is only allocated for indoor coverage (i.e. for small-cells/equivalent deployment). This may keep 2300 MHz network equipment costs higher and may limit R&D in 2300 MHz equipment.
Did Mukesh Ambani use his clout in the Chinese Government and Radio Regulatory Authority as well ? Well, Chinese are not a dumb coterie like the Corrupt Govt of India involved in the Spectrum Scam 😉