Mobily, the Saudi Arabia mobile operator that was first carrier to offer TD-LTE service (in September, 2011), announced this month it set a new world record when its LTE network broke through 400 Terabytes a day.
Four months after its commercial launch in June 2012, Mobily LTE TDD subscribers total 60,000.
Mobily’s transition from WiMax to TD-LTE might be similar to the Clearwire transistion to TD-LTE. On January 2013, Mobily awarded a contract to Ericson and Huawei to expand and upgrade Mobily’s 3G, 3.5G, and LTE networks that cover about 96% of the populated areas across the Kingdom.
Currently Mobily, like Clearwire, uses a different frequency on each 10 MHz wide channel on each of three sectors (30 MHz total). Mobily first lets the two networks coexist, dividing the existing spectrum into a 20MHz band for LTE TDD, and 10MHz band for WiMAX. It will transition to frequency reuse, where the same frequency is used on each of the three sectors. For WiMax, only 10 Mhz will be used. For LTE, the remaining 20 Mhz will be used.
The second phase will begin after all WiMAX contracts have expired. The operator will then allocate the full aforementioned 30MHz to LTE TDD, with a final 10MHz band serving as a second carrier (further boosting network capacity). The transition period might be tricky. Speed and range seem likely to suffer with less bandwidth.
Huawei’s SingleRAN WiMAX/LTE solution enables Mobily to reuse almost 100 percent of its existing WiMAX equipment, including its cabinets, baseband units, remote radio units (RRUs, and antennas.