China Unicom plans to trial a hybrid TD-LTE/FDD LTE network, having received the green light from the government.

The telco announced recently that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has given its approval for a hybrid network trial in 16 cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

It did not specify when the trial will take place.

"The LTE hybrid network trial will be conducive to better development of the company's mobile broadband business," China Unicom said in a statement.

"The company will comply with the requirements imposed by MIIT and proactively plan and conduct the LTE hybrid network trial in order to provide its users with mobile broadband data services with a higher speed and better experience," it added.

China's three mobile operators were awarded licences to roll out 4G services based on TD-LTE last year and all three have launched services, albeit to varying degrees.

While market leader China Mobile is forging ahead with its 4G service – it had signed up 8.11 million customers by the end of May – China Unicom and China Telecom are both keen to launch services using the more common FDD variant of LTE.

Following press reports last week, China Telecom has also confirmed that it has been given the go-ahead for a hybrid TDD/FDD LTE trial network, also in 16 cities.

China Telecom in particular is anxious to launch FDD LTE services. It has suffered subscriber losses since the start of the year due to the popularity of China Mobile's 4G offer.