Australia: WiMAX to TD-LTE

Perth-based ISP, Vividwireless, a subsidiary of Australia’s Seven Wireless, is moving from WiMAX to TD-LTE. The company aims to offer 40-70Mbps speeds within 18 months using Time Division LTE.

Vividwireless owns between 70MHz and 100MHz of 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum in every Australian capital city (except Hobart and Darwin). They use the 2.3 GHz spectrum for their WiMAX network. The company now says they aim to cover 60 per cent of the Australian population and approximately 90 per cent of the population in each Australian capital city with TD-LTE.

Vividwireless recently joined the Global TD-LTE initiative, which incorporates six major mobile operators including China Mobile, Vodafone, Bharti, SoftBank, eplus and Clearwire. Their recent two month TD-LTE trial in Sydney demonstrated peak speeds of 128 Mbps. The ISP now plans for a full nationwide rollout in the next year or so.

Australia’s Telstra, with 10 million mobile subscribers, also announced an LTE network rollout recently. It will operate at 1800Mhz and integrate with Telstra’s HSPA+ service at 850Mhz. A dual mode (LTE/HSPA+) mobile broadband device is being developed for the network, matching speeds with that of Vivid’s current WiMax network.

Interest in LTE TDD has been growing. China Mobile has been the major supporter behind TD-LTE, with 579 million subscribers. China’s ZTE said it had secured 18 contracts to build trial and commercial LTE TDD networks in Europe, the former Soviet republics and Asia. Both Nokia Siemens and Huawei will participate in the TD-LTE trials China Mobile is conducting.

With the Australian Government’s National Broadband Network, a change of Government would not make a major difference, says Vividwireless.

“In the future people’s primary connection is going to be a wireless connection,” said Mercer. “We only compete at the margins of the NBN and we address very different needs and markets.

“TD-LTE plays a definite role in our future, there are definite plans in place, the only uncertain aspect is the date at which we start building,” said VividWireless CEO Martin Mercer. “We own spectrum in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and so our plans include full citywide networks in all of those cities.”

It’s not until 2014 or 2015 when spectrum is freed up with the Digital Dividend in the 700MHz band that Optus (2100MHz/900MHz), Vodafone Australia (4 million mobile subs), and Telstra (10 million mobile subs), might just get enough spectrum to be able to start to build real LTE networks, according to Mercer. “In about 2014-2015, real LTE will be unleashed when 20MHz channels are available.”

“Vividwireless effectively has four times the capacity that Optus, Vodafone and Telstra do, so when we build an LTE network on the East Coast by 2015, we’ll build the 20MHz channels and we’ll have the fastest network in this country.”

Australia has about 25 million mobile phone subscribers, with Telstra, the leading mobile phone provider in the country, claiming about 10 million mobile subscribers.

Australia pioneered broadband wireless technology. Unwired Australia provided coverage in Melbourne and Sydney and has 52,320 customers and 97 employees as of 8 March 2010 using Navini’s beamforming preWiMAX network. Competitor iBurst used another pioneer beamform technology from Arraycomm.

LTE’s E-UTRA is an entirely new air interface system. It provides higher data rates, lower latency and is optimized for packet data using OFDMA for the downlink and SC-FDMA on the uplink. It supports both FDD and TDD with the same radio access technology on LTE frequencies.

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Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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