Indian BWA interest shifting to TD- LTE

Basharat Ashai/Maravedis
13 Jan 2011
The second half of 2010 in India was abuzz with discussion of several possibilities for BWA licensees regarding whether to deploy TD-LTE, Wimax, or a hybrid-type network (supporting Wimax in the initial stage with a migration path to TD-LTE).
These speculations have been laid to rest with license holders now leaning towards TD-LTE. Indian bigwig Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) has selected TD-LTE for rolling out its nationwide BWA network.
Ever since RIL issued its first press release mentioning “a single 20 MHz TDD spectrum when used with LTE has the potential of providing greater capacity when compared with existing communication infrastructure in the country,” Maravedis predicted it would deploy TD-LTE; there was no reference to Wimax in the press release.

In November 2010 RIL showcased the results from its first field trial of TD-LTE technology using ST-Ericsson dongles. The operator said it had achieved 80 Mbps downlink and 20 Mbps uplink speeds during the trial.
It also reported full mobility with delivery of applications such as HD multimedia streaming; LIVE TV was demonstrated with on-the-go speeds of 50 and 70 kilometers per hour, as well as a seamless handover among the number of LTE base station sectors.

RIL is reported to be testing kits from Ericsson, Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent, although it is not yet clear if it intends to select a single vendor or split the contract between multiple partners. It is close to selecting the vendors for a $1 billion TD-LTE rollout, with a decision anticipated in the next
couple of months.

Maravedis predicts RIL will have a tough time launching a commercial BWA service using TD- LTE in India until the end of 2011. The fundamental question is whether there is a TD-LTE solution that can go into deployment today to meet the broadband needs of Indian consumers at an affordable price?