China Mobile provides the public with mobile communication services mainly via a 4G convergence network based on the TDD/ FDD LTE standards, a 3G network based on the TD-SCDMA standard and a 2G network based on the GSM standard.
Our 4G network is a convergence network based on the TDD/ FDD LTE standards. Our parent company was granted the permission to operate TD-LTE business in December 2013, and was granted a LTE FDD operating permit in April 2018.
Voice-over LTE (VoLTE) is a voice solution for LTE networks which transmits voice via the IP network. Compared with traditional voice solutions, VoLTE provides higher definition quality with shorter connection time, hence lower costs. VoLTE provides customers with a better and enriched unified communication experience.
We provide 3G services using the 3G network leased from our parent company, whose 3G network adopts the Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA) standard. TD-SCDMA is a home-grown Chinese 3G mobile technology standard which allows more flexible and higher utilization of spectrum. We have been operating the 3G network since 2008.
Our 2G network adopts Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard, which remains to be the major carrier of our voice services. Our 2G network covers all cities, provinces, main roads, highways and most of the rural areas in China. Through China Mobile Hong Kong Company, our 2G network covers most areas in Hong Kong.
At China Mobile, we endeavour to establish high speed, high efficiency and intelligent backbone transmission networks. Alongside our rising backbone network capability, we have enhanced our overall business access and internet traffic delivering capability. Globally, we have improved our international network deployment and continuously strengthened our international transmission capability, with POP points providing coverage in Southeast Asia, North America, Middle East, West Africa and Europe. At the same time, the Group will continue to step up efforts to enhance the capability of new types of infrastructure and maximize the utilization of centralized infrastructure resources.
We are devoted to developing our wireline broadband business, putting a special focus on enhancing speed, quality and value. With dedication, we strive to provide our customers with high speed, exceptional quality and outstanding wireline broadband services.
Over the years we have been investing heavily in scientific research with remarkable results. The numbers of patents applications submitted to the Chinese and international authorities have amounted to nearly 10,000 and over 500 respectively and we were presented with the National Patent Gold Award in recognition of our outstanding scientific achievements. We are a five-time winner of the National Science and Technology Progress Awards; in particular, our TD-LTE key technology and application for 4G has received the Outstanding Prize in the 2016 National Science and Technology Progress Awards, which is the first Outstanding Prize in the field of telecommunications. As one of the top-tier telecommunications operators in the world, we play a vital role in various important international organisations including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 3GPP and NGMN.
Riding on trends of technological innovation and revolution, not only do we stay at the forefront of network development which entails a higher degree of customisation, dynamics and software applications, we also maintain a leading role in the development of intelligent pipelines. We take a leading role in the formulation of 5G architecture standards and have contributed a large number of proposals on R15 standard setting, which in this aspect has put us ahead of other global telecommunications operators. We have been proactively conducting tests on the 5G network and trials on 5G business applications, progressively working towards the goal of 5G commercialization. We accelerated the development of NFV (Network Function Virtualization) and SDN (Software Defined Networking) and put our virtualized NB-IoT core network into commercial use. We have actively built out the infrastructure for “5G+ edge computing” smart connection and continued to drive the application of our new technologies such as cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence on a large scale.