A senior SingTel exec has called for regulatory support for the right spectrum frequency to be allocated to operators implementing LTE, in order for the technology to take off.
Hurdles in the form of spectrum fragmentation and the lack of voice over LTE are significant challenges that have to be overcome, said SingTel’s VP for consumer products Chan Yim Leng at Unwired 2011, held in Singapore.
“Having different countries use different frequency bands has proven to be a key problem for operators in Asia when dealing with device manufacturers,” said Chan. “With the US and Europe having already decided on their frequency bands for LTE, manufacturers will tend to produce devices for those markets, and Asia gets left out in the process.”
SingTel is currently conducting LTE trials and intends to launch a commercial service by year-end. “LTE provides good results in terms of cell capacity and improved latency over 3G, if deployed correctly, the technology should give customers a better experience.”
However, operators require support from regulators to leverage existing LTE devices tailored to particular frequency bands, said Chan. “The US has decided on 700MHz and 1900MHz, while Europe has decided on 800MHz and 2600MHz; and devices have been produced for those bands.”
Chan told Telecom Asia the operator would likely be banking on the 2600MHz band for LTE, as devices produced for some European markets could readily be used with the frequency band.