BSS manager, Warid Telecom: “TD-LTE is better for mobile broadband”

Bilal Nazir is BSS manager for Warid Telecom, Pakistan

Bilal Nazir, IT BSS manager for Warid Telecom in Pakistan is a panellist discussing TD-LTE as an enabling technology, on Day Two of the inaugural TD-LTE Summit, taking place on the 23rd-24th April 2013 at the Fairmont Singapore Hotel, Singapore. Ahead of the show we get his thoughts on TD-LTE technology and the impact he believes it will have around the world.

Please give me an overview of your company and the status of your LTE deployment?

We are one of the world’s largest mobile operators, with almost 20 million subscribers. We offer cutting edge products and innovative value added services. In our eight year, we have constantly expanded our network and enhanced our services and offerings.

I think it would be too early to say anything about LTE deployments at this stage. That is something which depends on various factors, the most important of which is the upcoming spectrum auction for mobile broadband services. So, yes, LTE is going to be the choice of telcos but this need to be considered very strategically.

Do you believe the TD-LTE is a better choice for delivering mobile data than FDD LTE?

Next generation mobile broadband technologies appear to be gaining momentum across the globe. The same is true for different flavours of LTE. Nonetheless, both TDD and FDD have their own advantages that revolve around different factors such as market dynamics, spectrum availability, policy and regulation, and other factors. I believe TD-LTE to be a better choice for delivering mobile broadband. Some potentially large markets, including China and India have recently undergone TD-LTE deployments. However, the end user is more concerned about the quality of services that he/she is getting, be it TD or FDD or even a completely different access technology i.e. EV-DO or WiMAX.

Do you think that TD-LTE will grow into markets that are already covered with LTE FDD?

Yes, it is highly probable that TD-LTE will grow in such markets. This is because of several advantages offered by this emerging technology. While both will be widely used, it is anticipated that TD-LTE will have considerable market share for it has a number of significant advantages, especially in terms of higher spectral efficiency that can be used by many operators.

Are device manufactures willing to create TD-LTE compatible devices at the moment?

With its deployments in some of the largest markets such as China and India among others, TD-LTE has been quite successful in attracting device manufacturers to come up with TD-LTE compatible devices. This includes the mainstream vendors such as ZTE, Huawei, Samsung, NSN, and others have been actively involved in TD-LTE compatible devices development.

Are you facing any other challenges in terms of the TDD ecosystem?

In fact we have not been directly involved in TDD ecosystem but it appears that TDD has certain advantages in some scenarios and will therefore continue to thrive. But again, as I said, it depends on various factors including, the availability of spectrum, the market dynamics, the terrain and other aspect of the value chain to be able to decide which flavour will work better.

Are you concerned about any issues regarding FDD and LTE interoperability?

Apparently, some of the serious issues that FDD will face include the spectral efficiency and cost.

Do you have any plans regarding LTE Advanced at this stage?

The market we operate in has yet to allocate spectrum for mobile broadband technologies so at this point in time, it would be too early to say anything about our plans to go for LTE Advanced.  However, depending on a number of parameters, such as the spectrum allocation and cost and the possibility of spectrum and infrastructure sharing we will soon be able to decide if LTE Advanced is something to be considered. The future of telcos, however, is going to be LTE Advanced.

What do you believe are the key issues in monetising TD-LTE?

The frequency bands that have been in use (and in consideration) by TD-LTE apparently are not suitable for covering larger areas and thus are creating a challenging situation in terms of coverage.

Can TD-LTE provide a basis for service innovation?

Yes, it is highly likely that it will. This is because of the inherent advantage of this technology. Since this technology is being used in several markets worldwide, vendors have been coming up with a handful of devices that support TD-LTE, so this can be a stepping stone for service innovation. People are fundamentally changing the way they work, and in order to remain competitive, organisations are making enterprise applications accessible through mobile devices resulting in a huge potential for TD-LTE.

Are there any other issues that you would like to address?

I believe that the possibility of using digital dividend bands for deploying TD-LTE needs to be explored more actively, so as to effectively overcome the digital divide that exists the world over.

The inaugural TD-LTE Summit is taking place on the 23rd-24th April 2013 at the Fairmont Singapore Hotel, Singapore. Click here to download a flyer.

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