If you want to know the feeling of coming from behind to win the race, just ask these guys – Mobily and STC. While their bigger cohorts in India and China are still waiting, they launched the world’s first LTE TDD commercial networks in Saudi Arabia.
Interestingly, Mobily transitioned its network from WiMAX to LTE TDD, in a move that charts the course for other WiMAX operators waiting in the wings.
In the last couple of years, LTE TDD has emerged as an undisputed solution for unpaired TDD spectrum. It has broad global support from operators like China Mobile in China, multiple operators in India, Clearwire in the USA and many more. The support is well placed because of the many benefits LTE TDD brings to 3G and LTE FDD operators.
First of all, it is an excellent option to leverage unpaired spectrum to boost the data capacity of 3G as well as LTE FDD networks. LTE TDD’s flexibility, which allows it to provide more downlink capacity, is a great resource to support today’s disproportionally higher downlink data traffic. It can also be used for hotspot deployments as well, augmenting LTE FDD and 3G networks. Depending on the configuration, it can provide user data rates that are comparable to LTE FDD, while also providing a similar user experience.
LTE TDD’s ability to share the common core network with LTE FDD, along with its seamless interoperability with 3G, makes it an easy choice for operators with TDD spectrum. Moreover, Qualcomm’s industry-first LTE/3G multimode platforms support both FDD and TDD modes with the same chipsets (which, by the way, were instrumental in bringing the first LTE TDD commercial networks to fruition). LTE TDD will leverage the large LTE FDD and 3G ecosystem, which should lead to the availability of a full range of devices and economies of scale.
In addition to reaping the rewards of its successful launche to LTE TDD, Mobily has also put other WiMAX operators on notice! It would be interesting to know who will be next. We would love to hear from you. You can connect with us here or on Twitter @qualcomm_tech. As always, if you want to know more about LTE TDD or LTE in general, visit our website www.qualcomm.com/lte.