This blog is by Ashish Dayama, head of TD-LTE Marketing for Nokia Siemens Networks.
Given all the buzz about TD-LTE, the casual observer could be excused for thinking this cutting-edge technology has crept up on us overnight. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In actual fact, Nokia Siemens Networks has devoted more than 15 years to perfecting the technology. We’ve earned recognition as a leading innovator and driver of the TD-LTE market. As a result, what was once just theory is now a global commercial reality. So it’s no wonder everyone’s hearing so much about TD-LTE.
But what is TD-LTE and why is it special? Its full name is Time Division Long Term Evolution, and it uses the spectrum in a slightly different way to the Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) variant which is the one typically referred to just as LTE, not by the strictly correct full name FDD-LTE. TD-LTE uses one ‘pipe’ to transmit and receive data alternately, whereas LTE uses separate pipes for each direction. Since both are based on the same specification, both offer a comparable mobile broadband experience.
But why TD-LTE? The inexorable increase in demand to provide high bandwidth for large screen smartphones and other devices combined with the spectrum crunch is creating the perfect storm for massive LTE and TD-LTE deployments. Many operators had access to TD-LTE spectrum at much lower cost and in fact, many are using TD-LTE alone for mobile broadband. This is helping them handle the demand, taking advantage of the swathes of extra spectrum that is available for TD-LTE.
The Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) comprises over 50 operators. At the recent GTI workshop in Barcelona, Dr. Hua Xu from Nokia Siemens Networks highlighted an innovative and intelligent approach to offloading traffic between TD-LTE and FDD-LTE to increase capacity and optimize the utilization of both. This was immediately followed by a demonstration of the world’s first TDD-FDD offloading and load balancing in Nokia Siemens Networks’ 2013 Mobile World Congress exhibition area. Listening to operator’s demands for utilizing every scrap of spectrum and giving them an opportunity to deliver high capacity was the simple insight – all possible using Nokia Siemens Networks’ commercially available Single RAN Advanced Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station.
So it’s not an either/or debate. TD and FDD-LTE can work in harmony. Furthermore, Nokia Siemens Networks has achieved more than 90% commonality in the radio equipment used for the two LTE variants. This has obvious benefits since the R&D costs which were saved by developing a common platform are used instead to enhance real-world performance and reduce expenditure.
TD-LTE may have originally been seen as the ‘Chinese variant’, but TD-LTE networks are already well established and in full commercial service elsewhere in the world before large- scale deployments have even started in China. According to a GSA report from July 2013, there were 18 commercially launched TD-LTE networks all over the world, 8 of which Nokia Siemens Networks supplied. There were 200 TD-LTE user devices – and almost all the leading devices vendors have confirmed LTE/TD-LTE dual mode device launches in 2013. So there’s a thriving TD-LTE ecosystem out there.
Simply put, TD-LTE is an essential ingredient available to operators across the globe to profitably meet their burgeoning demand for mobile broadband. A recent article points out that it is a 91 billion dollar opportunity.
TD-LTE subscriber projections sky rocket with massive deployments in China, India, Brazil, Russia, Japan and USA. The ARCchart forecasts that China alone will have 500 million+ subscribers by 2017. Please refer to: TD-LTE subscriptions will surpass 500 million by 2017
For more information on Nokia Siemens Networks’ TD-LTE capabilities, follow this link. To share your thoughts on the topic, join the discussion on Twitter using #TD-LTE, #LTE, #FDD-LTE, #4G, #1GBperday, #LiquidBroadband, #NSN, #GTI, #MBBFuture and #mobilebroadband.