MTS rips and replaces WiMAX with TD-LTE

Leading Russian carrier MTS has launched a TD-LTE network across most of Moscow and 40 other major residential areas in the Moscow region.

Offering mobile broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps, MTS is focused on achieving LTE coverage in 96 per cent of Moscow by the end of 2012.

Infrastructure vendor Nokia Siemens Networks is the sole supplier of the TD-LTE kit, including its Single Radio Access Network (RAN) and Liquid Core based Evolved Packet Core (EPC). The company has migrated MTS’ complete network over from WiMAX, deploying 2,200 basestations, as well as NetAct network management tools and planning and optimisation services for 4G and 2G/3G quality assurance.

In a recent interview with Andrei Ushatskiy, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for MTS, talked about the stumbling blocks with regards to the company’s LE strategy. “The situation with frequencies is quite difficult. Although we got a license in July, it doesn’t mean we will be able to launch LTE everywhere because there are limitations to take into account. For example, the military is still occupying a lot of the digital dividend spectrum, which will take some time to evacuate.”

Andrei Ushatskiy, CTO, MTS

Ushatskiy expects MTS to continue to use GSM for the next ten years at least, but hopes that in the future he will have the opportunity to use GSM frequencies for other technologies. “We have already had our first experience of using 900MHz in the Moscow region and in the far east of Russia for UMTS. Spectrum re-farming will be a key part of the strategy for all Russian operators in the future. We need to establish technology neutrality and the ability to re-farm frequencies for new technologies,” he said.

“This will also apply to our 1800MHz frequency, too. At the moment we have some additional spectrum we can use. With 3G development in Russia starting two or three years ago, we are using only one or two carriers at the moment, but we actually have three available. So we have a good resource in 1800MHz which we plan to re-farm for LTE in the future.”

Earlier this week NSN claimed to have achieved ‘world record’ TD-LTE throughput speeds of 1.6Gbps, albeit in lab conditions, not in a real world environment. In the demonstration, the company used its commercial Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station to receive and send data in simultaneous downlink and uplink connections, reaching an overall speed of 1.6Gbps. At this speed, a 3GB HD movie would download in just 24 seconds while over 1.7GB of data could be uploaded at the same time.

The company used 60MHz of aggregated spectrum with a radio module that enables eight streams of uplink MU-MIMO. With this approach, NSN is taking TD-LTE beyond the LTE-Advanced specifications that require only four streams of uplink MU-MIMO.

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