Digitimes Research: TD-LTE development faces disadvantages

Benson Wu, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0

Development of TD-LTE, in comparison with that of FDD LTE, has been faced with some disadvantages, mainly because few globally first-tier mobile telecom carriers have adopted the technology, 80% of TD-LTE subscribers around the world are in China, and total bandwidth of frequency band units assigned for TD-LTE operation is 52.7% of that for FDD LTE operation, according to Digitimes Research.

There were 72 TD-LTE networks around the world as of the end of first-quarter 2016, much fewer than the 494 FDD LTE networks, and few of the TD-LTE networks were operated by first-tier carriers in West Europe and North America, Digitimes Research indicated.

There were 615 million TD-LTE subscribers around the world at the end of first-quarter 2016, accounting 49.2% of all LTE users, but 80% of them were in China (mostly being China Mobile subscribers), which is an imbalanced distribution.

3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) has assigned 33 frequency band units with total bandwidth of 2,000MHz for FDD LTE operation and 12 others with 1,054MHz for TD-LTE operation. In addition to less bandwidth, TD-LTE operators allocate bandwidth for download and upload via setting time slot allocation ratio, resulting in less bandwidth available for upload and therefore relatively slow upload.

Global TD-LTE Initiative, in a bid to make TD-LTE competitive, plans to compete for 3.3GHz, 3.5GHz, 3.8GHz and 4.4-4.8GHz frequency band units with total bandwidth of 800MHz in addition for TD-LTE operation by 2020.

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