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LTE TDD winning wide acceptance

Is the clock ticking?

The time division flavour of LTE, LTE-TDD, has gained wide ecosystem acceptance and backing from leading infrastructure and device vendors, leading analyst house Ovum to predict that 25 per cent of all LTE connections will be on LTE TDD by 2016.

The researcher said that LTE TDD has moved well beyond being a Chinese-specific technology and has already been adopted by operators in Japan, the Middle East, and Europe.

“The biggest market opportunities for LTE TDD will come from its deployment to support mobile broadband services,” said Daryl Schoolar, a principal analyst in Ovum’s Network Infrastructure practice. “Other opportunities will include its use as a fixed wireless broadband network and for small cell backhaul.”

Mobile operators such as Softbank in Japan, Optus in Australia, Hi3G in Sweden and Denmark, and STC in Saudi Arabia, have gone or are going the multimode LTE FDD/TDD route as part of their existing GSM and WCDMA/HSPA networks.

“Combining multiple standards such as GSM and WCDMA/HSPA and LTE FDD and/or TDD will grow the overall network capacity and increase quality of service. This is just a small part of it; the bigger opportunities lie in operators deploying it as their primary 4G network, such as Bharti Airtel in India and Mobily in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, LTE TDD provides cost benefits due to the price of unpaired spectrum, which can be passed on to end users,” said Schoolar.

Ovum anticipates wide support from the infrastructure, device, and chipset communities for LTE TDD, with growth in production volumes and choices continuously increasing. Huawei and a number of other vendors support multi-mode, multi-band devices, with market estimates placing total commercial devices at over 60.

“As LTE TDD becomes more common with mobile operators, a vendor’s 2G, 3G, and LTE FDD success is just as important as that vendor’s early LTE TDD deployments. Thanks to multi-standard base stations, mobile operators will look to the same vendors that deployed their 2G/3G and LTE FDD networks to deploy their LTE TDD networks,” said Schoolar.

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One comment

  1. Manish Singh 27/06/2012 @ 8:06 pm

    We couldn’t agree with Mr. Schoolar more. LTE-TDD first caught our attention when the LTE spectrum auction in Denmark concluded with four operators securing bands at 2.5GHz in May 2010. The thing that jumped out to us then, was that most of the operators acquired unpaired spectrum in addition to the more common paired spectrum.

    Since then, we’ve seen more and more operators rolling out their LTE macro networks on FDD (paired) bands while deploying the small-cell second layer on TDD unpaired spectrum. In other words, FDD for macro, TDD for femto.

    With plenty of data offload techniques, the introduction of the HetNet concept, the improvements in spectral efficiency and the innovative data plans now being offered, the mobile broadband dream of providing a wireline-like experience to wireless users is becoming a reality. TDD technology emergence is a new beginning of the hybrid LTE TDD/FDD deployment model, opening up a new way for capacity addition and data offload. The industry is gravitating toward mixed LTE deployments where femtocells and small cells employ TDD and macro base stations use FDD to create a HetNet topology that eliminates interference issues. Implementing TDD on femtocells can lead to improved quality signal and optimized bandwidth allocation thus delivering a high quality experience to the end users. TDD has already demonstrated its potential to overcome the challenges wireless networks are facing today. Due to its affordable spectrum it will become a respite in congested areas, adding capacity for the offload of asymmetric data like video and M2M applications.

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