It seems that Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) has become the latest booster of TD-LTE, publishing a paper saying China’s homegrown 4G telecoms standard could have as many as 2.7 billion users in Asia by 2013. (Chinese article) Of course this forecast is complete wishful thinking, considering there are currently no commercial users of TD-LTE right now even though Japan is building the region’s first such network and China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) is building a large trial TD-LTE network in 6 cities. This forecast clearly includes China on the list of nations that Goldman believes will be offering commercial TD-LTE services by 2013 — even though the Chinese industry regulator has indicated clearly on several occasions it has no plans to issue 4G licenses anytime soon but instead prefers to wait for the nation’s 3 major telcos to build up their 3G networks, which still only have around 70 million subscribers combined two years after their launch, compared with more than 800 million total mobile subscribers nationwide. China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou, who looks set to retire (previous post), is also keeping up his pressure on the regulator by talking up Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) potential to develop an iPhone for use on TD-LTE networks in a recent interview (Chinese article), following a visit to his company’s headquarter a couple of weeks ago by Apple COO Tim Cook (previous post). I suspect that Goldman has some ulterior motives in putting out this kind of irresponsible forecast, most likely its hopes of getting more business from China Mobile and other companies building TD-LTE networks. Whatever the case, I stand by my previous prediction that any awarding of commercial 4G licenses in China is still several years away, and TD-LTE will be lucky if it even has 100 million commercial users globally by 2013.
Bottom line: Goldman Sachs’ forecast of up to 2.7 billion TD-LTE users in Asia by 2013 looks silly, and is probably motivated by ulterior motives.
高盛<GS.N>似乎成为了中国TD-LTE技术的最新支持者，高盛近期发布一份报告称，中国自主研发的4G电信标准–TD-LTE到2013年将覆盖亚洲多达27亿用户。当然，尽管日本正在打造亚洲首个TD-LTE网络，中国移动<0941.HK><CHL.N>正在中国六大城市建立大规模TD-LTE测试网，但目前TD-LTE尚未投入商用，这一预测完全是凭空想象。高盛这一预测明显已将中国列为到2013年时会提供TD-LTE商用服务的国家之一，但中国行业监管者在多个场合明确表示，近期没有计划发放4G网络牌照，更倾向中国三大电信运营商强化其3G网络；而中国推出3G网络两年後，用户仍只有7,000万左右，而全国手机用户总数超过8亿。 中国移动董事长王建宙也在继续向监管者施压，他在最近接受采访时表示，苹果公司<AAPL.O>有意开发一款可适用於中移动TD-LTE网络的iPhone。数周前，苹果公司首席运营官蒂姆•库克(Tim Cook)造访中移动总部也令人浮想联翩。我认为，高盛发布这种不负责任的预测或许另有企图，他们很可能希望从中移动或其他建设TD-LTE网络的企业那里获得更多业务。无论如何，我还是坚持自己之前的预测，即在中国，商用4G牌照的发放还需数年之後，如果TD-LTE网络到2013年时在全球拥有1亿商业用户，那它都相当走运了。
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