China Mobile Communications, the world’s largest carrier by subscribers, said it will complete the next phase of its fourth-generation network trials by June as it tries to lure device makers including Apple.
The company finished first-phase trials of their the TD-LTE system this September, covering six cities with 850 base stations. The trials featured seven network vendors including Huawei, ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent.
Apple has promised to make an iPhone compatible with China Mobile’s TD-LTE standard when its next-generation model comes out, the Chinese firm’s Chairman Wang Jianzhou told Reuters last month.
China Mobile and Clearwire said in September they would cooperate to promote high-volume commercial production of chipsets and devices for the system. In an interview with FierceBroadbandWireless, Clearwire CTO John Saw said the primary goal of the partnership is to accelerate the development of a global multi-band, multi-mode chipset that incorporates frequencies between 2.3 GHz and 2.7 GHz.
The Global TD-LTE Initiative advocates cooperation among global operators to promote TD-LTE with Clearwire and China Mobile both members. Clearwire, which needs $600 million to deploy TD-LTE over its mobile WiMAX footprint, is likely to get funds from Sprint Nextel, Clearwire’s majority owner.
Sprint may use a portion of the $4 billion in debt it recently raised to fund Clearwire’s expansion and use a portion of their jointly owned 2.6 GHz spectrum for TD-LTE. Sprint’s “Network Vision” also implements LTE in their PCS and 850 MHz frequencies.
China Mobile estimates about 50 percent of its user base is now “ready” for a smartphone after the price for devices comparable to an iPhone3 dropped to about $100, Huang said. China Mobile had 633.5 million mobile subscribers as of Sept. 30, reports Bloomberg. Still, only 43.2 million, or 6.8 percent, made the switch to the company’s 3G network.
US operator AT&T will introduce LTE Advanced in 2013, according to AT&T Labs CEO, Krish Prabhu. Verizon Wireless, with LTE now available in 165 metropolitan areas, currently accounts for 63 per cent of all LTE subscriptions worldwide, according to a recent Informa Telecoms & Media report. Unfortunately, there’s not much paired AWS or 700 MHz spectrum left for AT&T and Verizon to develop. Where else can they go?
Clearwire’s WiMAX currently uses different frequencies on each sector. With TD-LTE, Clearwire will begin to use the same 20 MHz-wide frequencies on each sector (called fractional reuse). The effect of interference at sector edges is minimized by using different subcarrier frames, although that makes the relatively poor propagation at 2.6 GHz, even worse. Sprint and Clearwire will boost coverage back up though MIMO antennas and small relay cells.
LTE-Advanced supports cheap, single channel relay stations that can fill in the blanks without the need for a separate backhaul radio.
If this “Network Vision” thing seems more complicated and expensive then popping in a few 700 MHz macrocells — it probably is. The upside — more bandwidth is available in urban areas — and urban users generate the bulk of cellular revenue.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm today announced availability of their Gobi 4000, based on their multimode 3G/4G wireless modems and a common software interface with both LTE/HSPA+ and LTE/EV-DO compatibility. It teams with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, already used in many Android phones and tablets.
Related Dailywireless articles include; China Mobile + Clearwire + Apple?, Sprint’s Network Vision Detailed, Vendors & Spectrum Fund Clearwire TD-LTE, World’s First TD-LTE Service Launched by Mobily, Clearwire Chooses LTE Advanced, Will Sprint Go TD-LTE?, WiMAX to TD-LTE: Everybody’s Doin’ It, Speculation on Sprint Infrastructure, LG Telecom: CDMA & LTE Handover, LTE Spectrum: It’s War, German 4G Auction: It’s Done, Auctions Winding Down in Germany & India, EU: Global LTE Roaming at 1.8 GHz, End Near for Indian WiMAX?, WiMAX & LTE: Policy Vs Pragmatism, Intel: LTE Not Nail in Coffin, India’s Broadband Auction: It’s Done, TD-LTE Gains Momentum, WiMAX Forum: Not Dead Yet, Yota Dumps WiMAX,