TD-LTE «volcano» to erupt at ITU: Huawei

23 Oct 2013

ITEM: TD-LTE is a "volcano" that will "erupt very soon" – possibly at next month’s ITU conference.

So says Qiu Heng, VP of TDD product line for wireless networks at Huawei Technologies.

At a media event in Hong Kong Wednesday, Qiu said that TD-LTE – which has been developed alongside FDD LTE – is primed for global success, especially now that Apple has become the latest and last of the major handset players to finally release TD-LTE compatible devices (i.e. the iPhone 5s and 5c).

“The TDD industry is like a volcano right now. There is a lot of energy accumulating inside of it. On the outside, you can only see smoke, but it will erupt very soon,” Qiu said.

As for how soon, Qiu suggested that there could be a significant announcement at the upcoming ITU Telecom World 2013 event in Bangkok next month, though he didn’t give details.

“We have no data for this, but my feeling is that the eruption time will come at the end of November,” Qiu said. “You may see some news from [the] ITU [event]. That’s the timing, I think.”

By a possible coincidence, late November is around the time Huawei is predicting that China’s MIIT will issue long awaited 4G spectrum licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. China has long been touted by TD-LTE vendors as the key driving force for the overall TD-LTE ecosystem.

That said, Huawei is predicting an “eruption” of TD-LTE activity on a global scale, not just China. Raymond Wei, director of Huawei wireless branding, pointed out that Huawei has signed 56 TD-LTE supply contracts outside of China.

“Japan, India and the Middle East are also going to be big markets for TD-LTE,” Wei said.

Another reason TD-LTE is primed and ready, said Qiu, is that the spectrum for it is relatively cheap. “If you look at the countries where both FDD and TDD LTE spectrum has already been auctioned, on average TDD is 60% cheaper.”

That does depend on the market, of course. A chart from Huawei’s slide deck indicates that FDD and TDD spectrum in Norway and Germany are priced roughly the same.

Even so, said Qiu, “After the eruption, the spectrum price will change.”

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