Alcatel-Lucent has made a strong start in LTE deals thanks to its presence in the big two US contracts, and it also believes it will have a significant lead in the TDD flavor of the standard.
This will come later than the FDD version, but will be seen in major trials or early stage deployments in China and India from later this year. Alcatel-Lucent is to participate in wide scale trials at China Mobile, the biggest flagwaver for TD-LTE.
The vendor's Shanghai Bell unit will deploy an end-to-end TD-LTE solution for China Mobile's trial in Shanghai. The other cities selected for the tests are Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen and Xiamen.
Alatel-Lucent and Motorola were the equipment suppliers for Mobile's showcase network for the Shanghai World Expo last year, but all the major vendors are likely to take part in these broader trials, with local OEMs Huawei and ZTE almost certain to take a role.
Nokia Siemens (soon to acquire Motorola Networks, if it can get past Chinese antitrust probes), revealed it will supply both 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz equipment.
Ericsson, NEC and Datang could also be involved. Datang has been working on trials with government agencies in Beijing, also involving China Mobile.
China Mobile will start its equipment tender process in May or June - already six months behind earlier reported plans to choose the vendors by the start of this year. As usual, there are conflicting views about the pace of Chinese network roll-outs.