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China Mobile to Buy 1 Million 4G Smartphones for Trial

China Mobile Communications Corp. plans to purchase one million TD-LTE smartphones and data cards as the carrier expands a trial of its fourth-generation network.

China Mobile will buy the handsets and data cards from Huawei Technologies Co., ZTE Corp. (763), HTC Corp. (2498) and LG Electronics Inc. (066570), the Beijing-based carrier said in an e-mailed statement today. The carrier didn’t provide details of the purchase.

After building a trial 4G network in 15 cities in 2012, China Mobile will expand it to 100 cities this year with 200,000 base stations that can reach a population of 500 million people, the carrier said. China Mobile is counting on the faster network to help stem a decline in market share among smartphone users who watch videos and play games on the go.

China Mobile’s share of the nation’s 1.12 billion wireless users fell to 64 percent in January from 66 percent a year earlier.

China Mobile Ltd. (941), the company’s Hong Kong-listed unit, was little changed at HK$85 as of 1:07 p.m. in Hong Kong. The shares have dropped 5.8 percent this year, exceeding the 0.2 percent decline in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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