Despite its slow start, TD-SCDMA won't be left out of the 4G sweepstakes as it helps fill in the TDD gap for cellcos in the next couple of years, say Chinese proponents of the technology.
TD-SCDMA, China's homegrown 3G technology, has been slow to develop and is currently deployed on a trial basis only in ten cities primarily across China's eastern seaboard.
However, said Wang Zhiqin, deputy general director of China Academy of Telecommunication Research, TD-SCDMA is also an ITU-approved 3G standard that is aligning with HSPA's evolution to LTE under the 3GPP's 4G roadmap.
"TD-SCDMA already supports dual-mode usage with GPRS-based networks in China, and will fully combine with HSPA, which will give the technology support for MBMS," Wang said Tuesday during a panel session on wireless broadband at Broadband World Forum Asia.
"From there the technology will evolve to TD-LTE by 2010," she said.
Huang Yuhong, director of the department of wireless communications technology at the research institute wing of China Mobile, added that TD-LTE is "vital to the success of LTE".
"TD-LTE allows for the best use of spectrum, because many 3G operators have unpaired TDD spectrum that they are not yet utilizing," Huang said. "TD-LTE is also being harmonized alongside LTE-FDD, so operators can save costs by reusing their core network."
Huang said the 3GPP's standards work for TD-LTE should be completed in 2009, after which interoperability and field trials would commence, with commercial availability expected by 2010.
Operators looking for a TDD-based technology will also have Wimax as an option, but Huang said that LTE was more suitable for mobile operators because it was a 3GPP standard, "so it is more fine-tuned to operator requirements. And it will also interoperate better with LTE-FDD, which also means easier roaming."