LTE spectrum scenarios in China

Dianne Northfield and Phil Marshall/Tolaga Resarch
 
The spectrum allocations and subsequent LTE deployments in China are important in determining the future of TD-LTE and the prospects for global TDD spectrum allocations.
 
Although the mobile industry is dominated by FDD spectrum allocations, a significant portion of existing allocations have TDD channelization plans. Exhibit 2 illustrates that while in aggregate TDD spectrum is 12.26% of the overall allocation in MHz, it is more readily allocated in highly populated markets, such as in China, India and the US. As a result, 27.59% of TDD spectrum is allocated in terms of MHz-POPs (i.e. the population covered by each MHz of spectrum allocated).
 
Much of the allocated TDD spectrum across global markets is under-utilized and depends on the efforts of the Chinese to drive the necessary market scale for TD-LTE based ecosystems to mature.
 
Exhibit 2: Global FDD and TDD Radio Spectrum Allocations
Source: Tolaga Radio Spectrum Intelligence, 2013
 
 
As the LTE market continues to thrive with over 160 commercial networks having been launched, TDD radio spectrum holders like Clearwire in the US, are eagerly anticipating China’s planned TD-LTE deployments and the associated economies of scale that this will create. While TD-LTE will lack the scale of FDD-LTE it is well positioned to establish a formidable position in the LTE market.
 
Diane Northfield is vice president of research and Phil Marshall PhD is chief research officer at Tolaga Resarch

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