State-owned telecommunications company China Mobile has awarded a number of 100G optical deals, splitting its coverage among three vendors who are going to build the backbone of the operator's 4G and LTE networks.
The companies that landed deals are China's own telecommunications corporations ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co, along with Alcatel Shanghai Bell Co—the country's joint venture with French telecommunications equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent.
ZTE was contracted to deploy 20,000 kilometers in optical transport network equipment across China's western provinces. According to the company's CEO Bao Zhichung, this is ZTE's biggest 100G deal in history and that rollout is likely to be completed by the end of 2014. The East China portion of the contract will be supplied by Huawei, while the Northeast part of the deal was awarded to Alcatel Shanghai Bell following a framework agreement worth $1 billion announced in March.
China Mobile, the largest global mobile operator with almost 760 million customers, is halfway through the construction of the world's largest 4G network. By the end of 2014 the company will have completed installing 500,000 LTE-TDD base stations.
This is expected to have a substantial impact on communications on an international level, with Chinese operators already preparing for cutting-edge services offered with 4G coverage. China Mobile, for example, recently demonstrated high-definition video and VoLTE (voice over LTE) calls between its current network and VoLTE-enabled networks in South Korea.
Meanwhile, China Mobile's biggest market rivals—China Telecom Corp and China Unicom, both also state-owned—are also reportedly transforming their networks to accommodate an expected surge in fixed and mobile broadband usage in the country.