NEC forms Chinese TD-LTE alliance

Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
18 Jan 2011

China is extending the ecosystem for TD-LTE around its neighbors, and this week sees an infrastructure alliance with Japan's NEC, and the results of joint trials conducted by China Mobile and SK Telecom of Korea.

NEC is making an aggressive play to get back into the wireless equipment mainstream with LTE, having failed to live up to its early promise in 3G, at least outside Japan. It is pioneering new techniques like miniature base stations, and now it has its eyes on TD-LTE as an area where it can steal a march on larger rivals.

The platform is set to have a broader global base than the TDD-based 3G standards, TD-SCDMA and TD-CDMA, but at this early stage the market still remains open to new entrants.

The vendor has formed an alliance with China's Wuhan Research Institute of Post and Telecommunications (WRI), which will cover development, manufacturing, sales and field support for LTE RANs.

The results will apply to the FDD and TDD flavors of LTE, but the key focus is expected to be on the less developed TDD strand, which China Mobile plans to deploy starting from this year after it ran commercial trials at 2010's Shanghai Expo.

WRI has already taken part in TD-LTE tests for the Chinese Ministry of Industry and IT, and for carriers.

As well as getting a possible route into China Mobile, NEC will hope to take its TD-LTE products into other markets too.

It already has a joint venture with WRI, called Wuhan Fiberhome Mobile Communications, and this will market the jointly developed TD-LTE systems in China, but NEC will mainly target other countries.

Also showing an interest in TD-LTE is SK Telecom, the largest cellco in Korea, but one which has lagged behind rival KT in exploiting the other TDD-based 4G platform, Wimax.

SK Telecom and China Mobile carried out their first joint TD-LTE field trial in August and have now announced first results, and a more extensive program.

In tests near Seoul, SKT found that average download throughput, in a 10MHz band, was 14.6Mbps, with uplink averaging 6.2Mbps. Latency met targets set by the 3GPP and Next Generation Mobile Network bodies, the carriers said.

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