3 HK to launch FDD/TDD LTE-A network in 2016


3 HK, the mobile arm of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Limited (HTHKH), has announced plans to roll out FDD/TDD LTE-Advanced network in early 2016.

The announcement comes after the mobile carrier successfully demonstrated FDD/TDD carrier aggregation (CA) on its 4G network, with the help from Huawei and terminals chip-powered by Qualcomm Technologies.

In the FDD/TDD integrated network demo, 3 Hong Kong used Huawei’s One LTE Solution to aggregate an FDD carrier in either the 1800- MHz or 2600-MHz band with a TDD carrier in 2300-MHz band using CA technology, creating a LTE-A network with two component carriers.

3 HK already offers FDD LTE-A using its 1800-MHz and 2.6-GHz, which currently supports a downlink speed of over 200Mbps.  The operator is currently deploying a TD-LTE network scheduled for completion later this year.

Daniel Chung, chief technology officer of IT and mobile at HTHKH, said the devices that can support the two carrier FDD-TDD LTE-A standard are expected to be available in early 2016 and 3 HK is expected to launch the respective network at around the same time.

CA technology combines two or more intra-band or inter-band carriers, thereby providing wider bandwidth to deliver the higher data transmission rate required for the development of the Internet of Things.

Chung said the integration of TDD/FDD will allow the operator to combine the best characteristics of FDD and TDD technologies.

Adding TDD to its existing FDD network will enhance network capacity, increase network speed, as well as improve latency and subscribers’ mobile broadband experience, he noted.

Chung said 3 Hong Kong also aims to commercially launch three-carrier LTE-A in the second half of 2016, four-carrier CA in 2017 and ultimately five carriers (900/1800/2100/2300/2600-MHz) in 2018. 

Accordingly the network speed will be increased from over 300Mbps in 2016 to over 400Mbps in 2017 and over 600Mbps in 2018.

Additionally, the company plans to re-farm the 900-MHz and 2100-MHz spectrum for its LTE network in 2016 and 2017, respectively, Chung added.

3 HK is one of the three companies which won the spectrum auction on the 2.3 GHz band to provide TDD LTE service.

The company, which paid HK$150 million for 30 MHz of spectrum, is the first operator in Hong Kong to announce plans to launch commercial FDD/TDD LTE-A service.

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