Others also question when LTE licenses will actually be issued to Chinese operators by the government.
Lee dismissed such skepticism. He said, “That’s not that relevant any
longer, because operators are going out and building the LTE network
right now.” China Mobile’s chairman Xi Guohua said at the Mobile World
Congress in Barcelona this year that the carrier planned to build a
TD-LTE 4G network with 200,000 base stations to cover more than 100
Chinese cities, home to 500 million potential users. Lee observed,
“200,000 base stations are very substantial. They will cover 80 to 90
percent of prefectural cities in China.”
A majority of Chinese
smartphones are using the 3G networks -- with China Unicom offering the
WCDMA networks and China Telecom with CDMA. Meanwhile, China Mobile is
using the nation’s homegrown 3G network called TD-SCDMA.
iPhone on China Mobile's TD-SCDMA today can be as slow as being hooked
up to a 2G network. But with the Chinese public’s growing demand for
smartphones (including iPhones) and China Mobile’s commitment to LTE, it
seems only natural that smartphones capable of functioning in the
emerging LTE networks will soon become a must.
When asked how
Marvell hopes to compete against Spreadtrum, which is capitalizing on
its own TD-SCDMA solutions, and MediaTek, which pioneered its own turnkey
designs, Lee said that Marvell’s differentiation will lie in “our
strength in the international market and Marvell being one of the
leading LTE chip-set companies.”