posted on January 26, 2012 22:32
From RCR Wireless
The wireless industry has settled on a single interface for 4G networks, LTE. Gone are the holy wars, first pitting GSM against CDMA; then W-CDMA against EV-DO; and finally HSPA/LTE against WiMAX.
Operators can now focus their resources on new network topologies, and how to increase spectral efficiency and capacity. And in this domain, there is plenty of activity, even though most is still in the planning stage. It is clear however that the RAN will undergo a major transformation – the only question is how quickly it will happen. If 2011 was the year when small cells became universally accepted as a necessity, after an initially difficult gestation, 2012 may well be the year in which TDD – and its coexistence with FDD – will become equally universally accepted.
The success of TD-LTE is not in doubt. Many operators are fully committed to it from China and India to the United States, and others have already built networks (Japan, Middle East and Europe). Through the year we will see an increase in the pace of deployments and in the availability of devices, but also a shift in the perceived role of TD-LTE. While, it is becoming increasingly rare to see references to the “Chinese LTE standard,” the still prevalent view is that TD-LTE is for those operators with TDD spectrum, and that FDD LTE is the real LTE. It is time for this approach to change.
The two LTE versions are complementary, both across markets and within operators’ networks. Nearly in every country there are large swaths of TDD spectrum that sit unused, while operators are struggling with congestion. TD-LTE will have an important role to play, even though – as with the small cells in 2011 – most of the activity will still be in planning for TDD and FDD coexistence.
Of course, this opens the issue of how many frequencies devices will have to support to benefit from both TDD and FDD networks. Maybe we can save this as a forecast topic for 2013.