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Prepared by

Berge Ayvazian
Senior Consultant, Heavy Reading

November 2013
Special Research Report

LTE TDD Services in the 3.5GHz Bands
Opportunities & Challenges for LTE-Hi


Executive Summary
Mobile broadband demand is at an all-time high, with some operators reporting a
doubling of data traffic during each of the last five years. With increasing adop-
tion of sophisticated smartphones and tablet devices, more and more users are
turning to mobile broadband (MBB) as their primary means for Internet access,
content, applications, communications and messaging.

In particular, video streaming, content downloading, gaming and other high-
bandwidth, data-intensive multimedia applications are accelerating mobile data
traffic growth. We are reaching a point of network saturation as more smart
devices are penetrating the market, enabling users to satiate their hunger for
advanced services and applications. As such, mobile data traffic is expected to
grow 30-fold over the next few years and 1,000-fold over the next 10 years.

Mobile operators are just beginning to consider steps to handle this scale of
mobile data traffic growth, especially in urban centers where traffic can spike to
10 times average levels in the busiest hours. The UMTS Forum now estimates that
over 880 MHz of new spectrum will be needed to address this growth for the next
10 years. There is a growing recognition that only the combination of small cells,
cloud radio access network (RAN) and large blocks of new Long Term Evolution
(LTE) spectrum will allow operators to address this 1,000-fold challenge.

Mobile technologies have evolved from 3G to 4G HSPA+ and LTE in order to
provide increased mobile broadband data capacity at a lower cost per bit, while
reducing latency and improving the customer experience. In many countries,
competitive and market forces have combined to accelerate deployment,
aggressive marketing and rapid adoption of 4G LTE.

The most recent GSA report indicates that 213 LTE networks have been commer-
cially launched in 81 countries, reaching 126 million subscribers by October 2013,
concentrated in North America and the Asia/Pacific region. Most of these initial
LTE deployments have used paired frequency-division duplex (FDD) spectrum in
the 1800-, 2600- and 700MHz bands. The GSA has also identified 23 LTE time-division
duplex (TDD) commercial networks in 18 countries, with nearly all using Band 40
2.3GHz or Band 41 2.6GHz spectrum.

Figure 1 indicates that the 11 LTE TDD spectrum bands specified by 3GPP tend to
use higher frequencies and offer large spectral capacity, some with 100MHz
contiguous spectrum blocks.
Test-Driving TD-LTE Advanced
The most recent meeting of the 3.5GHz Interest Group of the Global TD-LTE
Initiative (GTI) attracted more than 120 participants from 17 countries, and it was
held in Tokyo to allow attendees to experience the Softbank field test demo of TD-
LTE Advanced technology in the 3.5GHz spectrum Band 42. This Heavy Reading
Special Research Report showcases the results of the Softbank TD-LTE trial and
discusses how operators can use 3.5GHz TDD spectrum to improve network
performance leveraging new technologies like LTE Hotspot Improvements (LTE-Hi)
and carrier aggregation for LTE Advanced.

The Softbank field test-drive demo of the world's first trial network supporting TD-LTE
Advanced technology in the 3.4-3.6GHz band was quite impressive. Driving


through the crowded streets in Tokyo's densely-populated Ginza district, partici-
pants saw the density of SoftBank's network of rooftop LTE antennas, with a live
measurement of average download speeds of 500 Mbit/s and peak download
speed reaching 770 Mbit/s. Huawei helped build this SoftBank pre-commercial trial
TD-LTE network using cutting-edge LTE Advanced technologies to achieve those
download speeds with 100 MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum, including beam-forming
antennas, carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, interference cancellation, coordinated
multi-point (CoMP), ultra-wideband remote radio units (RRUs) and cloud RAN, in
which baseband units are pooled in telco central offices.

Figure 1: Total Available Spectrum in LTE TDD Spectrum Bands Specified by 3GPP
TDD 2000
20 MHz
15 MHz
TDD 1900
60 MHz
60 MHz
37 PCS Center Gap 1910-1930 20 MHz
38 IMT Extension Center Gap 2570-2620 50 MHz
39 China TDD (current TD-SCDMA band) 1880-1920 40 MHz
40 2.3 TDD (Malaysia, China & India) 2300-2400 100 MHz
41 U.S. TD-LTE 2496-2690 194 MHz
42 3.5/3.6 GHz 3400-3600 200 MHz
43 3.7 GHz 3600-3800 200 MHz
44 ATP 700 703-803 100 MHz
Source: Heavy Reading and 3GPP


3.5/3.6GHz Spectrum for Small-Cell Capacity
The highest concentration of mobile data traffic growth is in urban hot zones and
indoor hot spots, where operators are planning to deploy small cells on top of the
macro cell layer in a heterogeneous mobile broadband network. Taking this small-
cell deployment scenario into account, LTE-Hi has been proposed to optimize
small-cell spectral efficiency enhancements, efficient operation with traffic
adaptation and interference coordination, heterogeneous network (HetNet)
mobility enhancement and multi-stream aggregation, as well as the potential for
HetNet FDD and TDD joint operation.

Softbank believes the release of 3.5/3.6GHz spectrum for mobile operators is
critical for unleashing the power of LTE-Hi and TD-LTE Advanced technologies.
Figure 2 demonstrates that the lower 700-900MHz FDD frequency bands with 3+
kilometer coverage range are best suited to deploying LTE macrocell networks for
broad nationwide and rural coverage. The most widely used Advanced Wireless
Services (AWS) spectrum band with 1.5 kilometer coverage range is well suited for
LTE coverage in regional metropolitan areas. Although the 0.3 kilometer coverage
range in the 3.5/3.6GHz spectrum band is challenging for achieving broad
nationwide coverage, these propagation-loss characteristics make Band 42 ideal
for high-frequency reuse to enable dense small-cell deployments, and the large
blocks of spectrum available in this band fare well for dramatically expanding
broadband capacity in urban areas. The challenges posed by small-cell deploy-
ments with limited coverage areas can be addressed by the coordination of radio
resource utilizations and mobility management across multiple cells, especially
when using baseband pooling.

Figure 2: Coverage & Capacity for Key LTE Spectrum Bands

Source: Heavy Reading and 3GPP


The most important drivers for TD-LTE deployments using spectrum in the
3.5/3.6GHz bands, highlighted by China Mobile and SoftBank, are:

Limited coverage, low mobility and isolation makes higher frequency
Band 42 attractive for outdoor rooftop and street level small cells in urban
hot zones.
3.5/3.6GHz spectrum offers high throughput for both outdoor and indoor
hot zones.
200 MHz of available spectrum is ideal as a dedicated large-bandwidth
small-cell band to boost hot zone capacity on top of the macro cell cov-
erage layer.
3.5/3.6GHz spectrum using TD-LTE solutions is well suited for handling the
severe unbalance and fluctuation of downlink/uplink traffic in each hot
zone area.
3.5/3.6GHz spectrum offers greater isolation to avoid interference, ensure
quality of service (QoS) and enable frequency reuse in the high frequency


Operator Strategies for TD-LTE 3.5GHz Networks
This SoftBank TD-LTE Advanced technology demo in Tokyo was conducted during
the 3.5GHz Interest Group Workshop and Ad Hoc Seminar hosted by the GTI that
attracted the participation of 120 participants more than 17 countries. In addition
to SoftBank Mobile, operator participants representing China Mobile, UK Broad-
band, Bollor Telecom and Wateen Telecom offered their insight on the best use
of 3.5GHz spectrum to enhance mobile broadband deployment and increase
capacity for TD-LTE small cells both outdoors and inside buildings.

The WiMAX Forum estimates that more than 300 operators own 3.5/3.6GHz
spectrum and that many provide fixed/nomadic broadband wireless access
(BWA) services using WiMax technology. Figure 3 provides a representative list of
these operators' current services using 3.5/3.6GHz spectrum to provide BWA in
more than 20 countries by region.

Figure 3: Operators Licensed to Use 3.5/3.6GHz Spectrum by Region
UK Broadband
Imagine Communications
Bollor Telecom
b.lite Telecom BVBA
Deutsche Breitband Dienste
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
Eastern Europe
Netia, Milmex
TransTeleCom, Enforta
Azqtel (Sazz)
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
Middle East/
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Mena Telecom
Wateen, Augere, Wi-Tribe
Neotel, Easttel
Safaricom, AccessKenya
Swift, ADIV
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax/TD-LTE dual-mode
WiMax/TD-LTE dual-mode
Asia/Pacific Australia Vivid Wireless/Optus WiMax/TD-LTE
North America
Xplorenet, Bell Canada
Axtel, Telmex
WiMax to TD-LTE
WiMax to TD-LTE
Latin America
WiMax to TD-LTE
Source: Heavy Reading


Many of these operators initiated BWA service using WiMax technologies and
some are now seeking to leverage their vast spectrum positions and transition to
TD-LTE. The 3.5GHz Interest Group has reached a consensus that LTE TDD should be
the main evolution choice for WiMax operators.

However, the BWA business model still has traction where 3.5GHz band is being
used to provide essential fixed and nomadic wireless broadband services. In
Pakistan, Wateen, WiTribe and Mobilink now serve 460,000 broadband wireless
subscribers using WiMax in the 3.5GHz band; MobinNet is another 3.5GHz WiMax
operator that provides wireless broadband service nationwide and serves more
than 500,000 subscribers in Iran. But many existing 3.5GHz WiMax operators are not
financially viable and need a near-term plan to access a broader ecosystem of
devices and operate more easily within the new LTE HetNet environment. Some of
these operators are hoping to enhance their operations by leveraging WiMax
Advanced Release 2.2 technology to support the convergence of WiMax and TD-
LTE services. The following are among the 3.5GHz operators seeking to evolve their
existing WiMax networks to LTE TDD for a better user experience beginning in 2013:

UK Broadband conducted a TD-LTE pilot in 2012 and launched commer-
cial service using 3.5/3.6 GHz spectrum in June 2012.
Bollor Telecom from France plans to launch TD-LTE services in Band 42.
Ireland's Imagine Group has 220 MHz in Band 42/43. Originally offered Wi-
Max in all strategic parts of Ireland; now plans to launch TD-LTE in 2013.
Xplornet Communications of Canada is testing the migration from WiMax
to TD-LTE network with 25 MHz in the 3.5GHz band.
AFT-Linkem, a WiMax operator with 130,000 subscribers in 13 regions of
Italy, is conducting a trial of TD-LTE in the 3.5GHz band.
Neo Sky in Spain is studying the introduction of a 3.5GHz TD-LTE system.
Enforta, a Russian WiMax operator, plans to test TD-LTE in the 3.5GHz band.
Mobily in Saudi Arabia is working with Huawei and Samsung to migrate its
existing WiMax network to be the first WiMax/TD-LTE multimode in the
2.5GHz Band 41. Mobily will use some 2,400 LTE towers in more than 30 cit-
ies to support 2 million mobile broadband subscribers and also plans to
deploy TD-LTE with 3.5GHz spectrum in the future.
WiMax network into the first WiMax/TD-LTE multimode network in Band 41,
with 2 million subscribers. Mobily also plans to deploy TD-LTE with 3.5GHz
spectrum in the future.
Menatelecom, a WiMax operator in Bahrain, is currently working with
Huawei to deploy a nationwide TD-LTE network at 3.5GHz, planning to
launch commercial service in 2013.
Swift in Nigeria is deploying West Africa's first WiMax/TD-LTE dual-mode
network using 3.5GHz spectrum.

The following profiles provide more details on operators with using 3.5/3.6GHz
spectrum that are considering the transition from WiMax to TD-LTE.
UK Broadband First to Deploy TD-LTE in 3.5GHz Band
UK Broadband (UKB) has been leading the 3.5GHz TD-LTE movement, and was
world first operator to deploy a TD-LTE network in the 3.5/3.6GHz LTE Bands 42 and
43 beginning in 2012. UKB was also the first commercial 4G deployment in the U.K.


Using Huawei's TD-LTE base station solution, the UKB network initially covers the
South Bank and Borough areas of Southwark in the south of London. A subsidiary
of Hong Kong-based PCCW, UKB has adopted a wholesale business model to
deploy bespoke LTE coverage that delivers solutions to where there is demand for
high-speed wireless/mobile data capacity.

The UKB TD-LTE network uses 124 MHz of 3.5/3.6 GHz of unpaired spectrum, which
allows the deployment of 6 x 20MHz wide channels for access and 2 GHz of
spectrum for backhaul. This enables UKB to deliver LTE Advanced speeds and
enough capacity across the network to deliver next-generation access superfast
broadband speeds to a large number of users simultaneously. UKB has one of the
largest 4G spectrum holdings in the U.K., even after the recent auction releasing
250 MHz of 4G spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands. The U.K.'s mobile
operators are now deploying their initial LTE coverage networks and UKB is
prepared to offer additional LTE capacity using its 3.5GHz spectrum as the need
unfolds. UKB is currently working with anchor or core customer partners to offer
superfast mobile broadband services to consumers and commercial businesses, as
well as public sector "wireless city deployments" across the U.K.

Although its 3.5/3.6GHz spectrum license allows the carrier to deploy either FDD or
TDD technology, UKB has chosen to deploy TD-LTE because it is specifically
designed to meet the rapidly growing demand for download data capacity. TD
LTE allows UKB to dynamically manage the network to maximize the download
capacity at all times, optimizing both the technology and the wide spectrum
bands it has available to deliver a very high download capacity. As mobile data
becomes increasingly asynchronous, TDD technology enables network resources
to be fully optimized, whereas FDD would be underutilized in these situations. As
data demand on the move increases, TDD will start to be more widely used to
meet customer demands and drive an optimum return for the operator.

UKB believes TD-LTE technology is rapidly maturing and the ecosystem is develop-
ing, although there are still several practical device challenges to be resolved
before operators can fully leverage the new capabilities being developed by
standards organizations. Huawei supplied the first multiband and multimode TD-LTE
devices used by UKB, including indoor and outdoor units for high-speed wireless
broadband to homes and businesses in the coverage area. Multimode mobile
smartphone devices supporting TD-LTE, FD-LTE and 3G are in development.
Bollor Telecom Plans to Deploy TD-LTE in 3.5GHz Band
Bollor Telecom is a subsidiary of the Bollor Group, one of the 500 leading interna-
tional diversified groups, founded in 1822. For several years, Bollor Group has been
investing in the communication and media sectors, and it is now developing its
wireless business. Bollor Telecom is the leading 3.5GHz wireless network operator in
France, and Wifirst is the leading French wireless Internet service provider (ISP) and
Wi-Fi operator in terms of traffic. Bollor also owned Autolib, a smart city solutions
provider and is a key stakeholder in SFR, the second largest French mobile operator.

Bollor Telecom is one of the original WiMax license holders in France selected in
2006 to use the 3.5GHz band to offer fixed wireless Internet services, especially in
areas not reached by ADSL. In 2008, Bollor Telecom acquired of eight of the 11
regional WiMax licenses held by TDF WiMax subsidiary HDRR and two regional
licenses from Altitude Telecom. These were combined with its existing 12 licenses to
launch a high-speed Internet service nationally. Its national license for 30 MHz of
3.5GHz spectrum now covers 65 million people.


The Bollor Telecom network deployment took longer than expected, and the
WiMax technology was initially used in rural areas to cover zones beyond the
reach of landline DSL networks. Bollor learned many lessons from its effort to build
a viable network and business using WiMax in the 3.5GHz band. The WiMax vendor
ecosystem was not reliable, and the company claimed it was unable to deploy a
fully-functioning WiMax network due to equipment vendors abandoning the
technology. For several years the company was threatened to lose its 3.5GHz
licenses, since only 200 of the several thousand WiMax base stations the ISP was
obliged to deploy were ultimately installed given their limited coverage.

In return for retaining its licenses, Bollor has committed to keep control of Bollor
Telecom and to meet all of its deployment obligations by 2017, while continuing to
making its spectrum available to local governments. It has agreed to return this
spectrum if it does not meet its obligations. Bollor Telecom is now seeking to
convert to LTE its 3.5GHz spectrum operator license national WiMax network to TD-
LTE. It plans to refocus on the top 15 urban areas, reaching 24 million people and
most of the smartphones in France. Phase 1 of this plan is to be completed within
18-24 months, delivering capacity where it is really needed and ensuring the
service is transparent across multiple networks.

The company is also seeking regulatory reforms that would remove technology
restrictions on its 3.5GHz spectrum license that prevent mobility and backhauling.
Ultimately, Bollor would like French regulators to adopt the CEPT/ECC PT-1 band
plan to release more TDD spectrum in the 3.5/3.6GHz bands. Bollor sees great
potential for 3.5GHz spectrum to add capacity to SFR's existing LTE FDD network
and to offer high-speed broadband in urban areas. But this depends on the
growth of the vendor ecosystem, new chipsets and low-cost terminal devices.
Wateen Telecom 3.5GHz WiMax Operator in Pakistan
Wateen Telecom is the Abu Dhabi Group's latest communication investment in
Pakistan after the successful launch of Warid Telecom post-paid GSM network.
Headquartered in Lahore, Wateen's nationwide spectrum holdings in the 3.5-
3.6GHz band include five geographic regions with 42 MHz of spectrum and nine
geographic regions with 21 MHz of spectrum.

Wateen has successfully deployed a nationwide WiMax network with coverage in
19 cities, covering more than 20 percent of Pakistan's 164 million inhabitants. Since
the network's commercial launch in December of 2007, Wateen Telecom currently
serves 185,000 subscribers. Wateen is close to achieving EBITDA break-even on
existing operations, while addressing the challenge of subsidizing expensive
3.5GHz WiMax devices and poor performance of WiMax USB modems in indoor
environments. Wateen is working to consolidate its assets with another 3.5GHz
WiMax operator in Pakistan to aggregate spectrum and drive economies of scale.

Wateen is also contemplating the transition from its existing WiMax network, and
the introduction of TD-LTE into its current 3.5GHz infrastructure and device portfolio.
This transition is being planned as a layer of TD-LTE on top of its existing WiMax
network in high data demand urban areas, driving the following requirements:

Preserving interoperability with its existing WiMax network and subscribers
Stable, certified, standardized TD-LTE infrastructure equipment in 3.5 GHz
A single cabinet to host both WiMax and TD-LTE radio transceiver units
would be a desirable feature to save operation and maintenance cost


A converged backhaul and core should be feasible to manage opera-
tional cost and network complexity
The ecosystem should evolve such that customers bring their own devices
with built-in LTE capabilities in portable devices (mobile/tablets/laptops)
The ecosystem should allow customers to buy attractively priced "off-the-
shelf" customer premises equipment (CPE) not subsidized by the operator
Suitable TD-LTE indoor desktop CPE pricing for the Pakistan broadband
market would be below $45 by 2016
Softbank WCP First to Demo TD-LTE Advanced in 3.5GHz Band
SoftBank Mobile is the third largest mobile operator in Japan, operating HSPA+
services using 90 MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz band. Softbank also operates DC-
HSDPA at 1500 MHz and HSDPA at 2100 MHz. The company recently launched LTE
FDD service nationwide in the 2100MHz band.

The spectrum holdings and mobile networks controlled by SoftBank in Japan are
summarized in Figure 4. In December 2010, Softbank acquired bankrupt Willcom,
which operated a Personal Handy-phone Service using 2.5GHz spectrum. Willcom
was renamed Wireless City Planning (WCP) and, with SoftBank as the lead investor,
has used its 2.5GHz spectrum to deploy a nationwide TD-LTE compatible, Ad-
vanced eXtended Global Platform (AXGP) mobile broadband network through-
out Japan. SoftBank Mobile now operates as an MVNO of WCP, offering Softbank
4G-branded AXGP service on that 2.5GHz spectrum. This spectrum in Band 41 is
the same spectrum used by Sprint partner Clearwire for WiMax and, starting next
year, TD-LTE.

Figure 4: SoftBank Spectrum Holdings & Mobile Networks in Japan

Source: SoftBank and Wireless City Planning


SoftBank recently demonstrated the world's first trial network supporting TD-LTE-
Advanced technology in the 3.4-3.6GHz band. Its WCP TD-LTE deployment and
the field test demo used 3.5/3.6GHz spectrum, supporting small-cell base stations
with interference cancellation, MIMO and beam-forming antenna technologies.
SoftBank also demonstrated a prototype five-carrier aggregation technology for
TD-LTE that can provide a maximum download speed of 1.2 Gbit/s. When de-
ployed in combination with ultra-wideband RRUs, this network can support
instantaneous bandwidth of more than 100 MHz and can be customized on
demand to accommodate new spectrum as it becomes available. But the real
key to the trial demo was the use of small cells and more than 100 MHz of spec-
trum in the 3.5GHz band, with advanced interference-cancellation technologies
that improve quality and performance even at the cell edge.

SoftBank believes that paired LTE FDD spectrum ensures symmetrical allocations
between uplink and downlink, while LTE TDD allows for more downlink capacity to
support video streaming and downloading without the need for guard bands. This
trial clearly demonstrated the performance, reliability and stability of LTE TDD
technologies in the 3.5GHz band and their effectiveness in solving coverage issues
and addressing co-frequency band interference. WCP detailed its deployment of
3.5GHz LTE-TDD small cells at 37,000 sites, offering the capacity needed to handle
traffic growth in the major urban areas of Japan and complementing SoftBank's
LTE FDD coverage network.

All this was designed to show how mobile operators can use TD-LTE Advanced
technology, small cells, smart antenna and the 200 MHz of spectrum in the 3.4-
3.6GHz band to achieve peak data rates of 1 Gbit/s to meet the requirements for
true 4G IMT Advanced, as defined by the International Telecommunication Union.
However, this demo lacked a practical demonstration of the new applications
that would be enabled by these blazing-fast download speeds, such as mobile 3D
HDTV, virtual reality gaming and mobile telepresence. SoftBank clearly demon-
strated that all these resources will be required to achieve the 1,000-fold growth in
mobile broadband data traffic expected over the next 10 years.

SoftBank WCP also advised existing 3.5GHz WiMax operators to leverage the
growing ecosystem of Dual SIM Dual Radio (DSDR) smartphones to offer subscribers
a unique combination of nationwide LTE coverage and high capacity in urban hot
zones. Rather than selling their spectrum or facing financial collapse, WCP believes
that DSDR should be a primary strategy for WiMax operators in the 3.5GHz band.


Vendor Ecosystem for 3.5/3.6GHz Band 43
Meeting participants attended the GTI 3.5GHz Interest Group Workshop to discuss
performance by leveraging 3.5GHz spectrum new TD-LTE technologies. In support
of the operator initiatives, the 3.5GHz LTE TDD ecosystem is becoming commercial-
ly mature across both the infrastructure chipset and device domains. A large
ecosystem of vendors also supported this 3.5 TD-LTE Advanced workshop, includ-
ing Airspan, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Hitachi, Huawei, NSN, Qualcomm, Telrad and
ZTE. Each of these vendors is prepared to play a prominent role in the deployment
of small cells and TD-LTE Advanced networks using 3.5GHz spectrum. The following
summarizes the vendor presentations made available after the workshop:

Huawei has extensive experience deploying TD-LTE networks with 3.5GHz spectrum
and has emphasized the smooth evolution from WiMax to TD-LTE networks to
protect the operator's investment and existing subscriber base. With its large base
of WiMax operator customers, Huawei is working with Mobily to deploy the first
dual-mode network to rapidly migrate users from WiMax to TD-LTE in Saudi Arabia.
Huawei is also working with UKB on the world's first 3.5GHz LTE TDD commercial
network and has already demonstrated the world's first 3.5GHz TD-LTE TDD nation-
wide network in Bahrain with Menatelecom. Huawei helped build this SoftBank
pre-commercial trial TD-LTE network using cutting-edge LTE Advanced technolo-
gies. Huawei also commercially launched a 3.5GHz ultra-wideband RRU that
provides more than 115 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth to support four carriers.
Huawei also commercially launched the eRelay 3.5GHz backhaul solution in the
Bahamas. Figure 5 presents Huawei's solution for the smooth evolution from WiMax
to TD-LTE to protect the operator investment based on this experience.

NSN also recognizes that TD-LTE technology in Bands 42 and 43 in conjunction with
increased spectral efficiency and small-cell base stations represents a unique
capacity opportunity for addressing the challenge of 1000x mobile broadband traffic
growth. NSN has been selected as a TD-LTE vendor by 11 major operators, and to
date has deployed eight commercial TD-LTE networks with 15,000 live TD-LTE cells in
the 1.9GHz, 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz bands. NSN believes the step to 3.5GHz TD-LTE is not
a big technology leap, but timing will depend on end-to-end industry development
Figure 5: Smooth Evolution From WiMax to LTE to Protect Investment

Source: Huawei


and expanding the device ecosystem. With 400 MHz in valuable spectrum assets
from 3.4-3.8 GHz, most countries will be making their licensing decisions on Bands 42
and 43 soon. NSN is proposing an all-in-one integrated solution (BBU+RRU in one box)
with flexible backhaul options to add capacity exactly where it is needed.

Hitachi is a Japanese telecom solutions provider that recognizes the importance
of 3.5GHz spectrum as the first band offering global assignments of more than
40MHz. Hitachi believes TD-LTE is the best solution for optimizing the mobile data
capacity of the 3.5GHz band, given its ability to support asymmetric upload/
download allocations based on system configuration. Hitachi also recognizes the
value of using 3.5GHz spectrum with small cells with active antennae, 3D-MIMO
and beam-forming to minimize the effect of macrocell interference.

Airspan is focused on making 4G OFDM/OFDMA small-cell solutions smarter,
scalable, cost-effective and future-proof. With an extensive portfolio of outdoor/
indoor LTE small-cell solutions, Airspan is heavily invested in technologies for interfer-
ence management in aggressive frequency reuse scenarios and offers a unique
small cell with integrated non-line-of-sight and line-of-sight backhaul. Airspan has
also developed a high-performance, low-cost, small-cell solution for 3.5GHz
operators wanting to deploy LTE Advanced services using carrier aggregation.

Telrad Networks is a leading provider of telecom solutions that acquired Alvarion's
BWA division, with an extensive portfolio of infrastructure solutions and a large
international installed base of 3.5GHz WiMax networks. Most of the 3.5GHz opera-
tors that make up 70 percent of the Telrad WiMax installed base are planning a
transition to TD-LTE. Telrad is one of the lead contributors to the development of
WiMax Advanced Release 2.2 to support the convergence of WiMax and TD-LTE
and offers a distributed Evolved Packet Core (EPC) optimized solution for data-
centric mobile and fixed services to enable fixed/mobile convergence on LTE.

The availability of terminals supporting the 3.5GHz band is critical, so operators and
vendors are starting to work together to increase the global production of low-
cost 3.5GHz LTE TDD devices. Several key vendors leading the market for LTE
semiconductor solutions with chipsets for both single- and multimode applications
made presentations at the GTI 3.5GHz Interest Group Workshop. The following
summarizes key points from the presentations made available by selected
semiconductor vendors after the workshop:

Sequans Communications is a publicly traded, leading chipmaker dedicated to
enabling mass-market 4G LTE and WiMax chips to original design manufacturers
(ODMs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide. Sequans has
developed an extensive line of ODM products supporting 3.5GHz spectrum,
including a dual-mode WiMax/LTE solution to help mobile operators and device
makers accomplish a smooth and cost-effective transition from WiMax to LTE.

Altair Semiconductor is a privately held, Israel-based global leader of single-mode
baseband and RFIC for FDD and TDD LTE semiconductor solutions. Altair shared its
insight into the key challenges for 3.5GHz chipset availability and the LTE device
ecosystem. Since the 3.5GHz band is wide and not yet harmonized globally,
additional bands are expected to be defined. Current filters are based on legacy
WiMax filters in the 3.3-3.9GHz range, and specific band filters are expected to be
developed as markets mature. Inter-device coexistence between devices in
different networks is a key TD-LTE deployment challenge that does not exist in FDD.
Altair and its ODM partners are committed to accelerating the 3.5GHz TD-LTE
device ecosystem and enabling commercial-grade device introduction this year.


Global harmonization of the 3.5GHz spectrum band is critical to supporting a
single ecosystem, particularly for chipsets and terminal devices. Many attendees
came to Tokyo to help speed up the release of 3.5GHz spectrum, which is critical
for unleashing the power of TD-LTE Advanced technologies. Global harmonization
of 3.5GHz spectrum in LTE Bands 42 and 43 is also essential to ensure the sharing of
the same ecosystem, particularly for chipsets and terminals. The GTI 3.5GHz Interest
Group has proposed that 3.5GHz spectrum be released in at least 40MHz blocks to
realize the inherent deployment advantages of its wide bandwidth. Many coun-
tries are expected to release more 3.5GHz spectrum to promote the development
of mobile broadband services using high-spectrum bands.

In Japan, the 2.5GHz band is currently shared between SoftBank WCP and the UQ
Communications affiliate of KDDI. SoftBank was disappointed when a new block
of 2.5GHz spectrum was awarded to competitors KDDI and UQ, as both carriers
seek to boost download speeds for mobile broadband devices. As such, SoftBank
has a heightened interest in the next large block of spectrum that may become
available in Japan. Japan's regulator recently re-farmed the 3.5GHz band by
moving studio-transmitter link video services to enable LTE Advanced performance
with small-cell deployment and offload capabilities, with a target commercial
schedule of 2015. SoftBank predicts that the Japanese government will allocate a
large block of spectrum for commercial LTE by 2015. Based on the success of the
world's first trial network supporting TD-LTE Advanced technology in the 3.4-3.6GHz
band, SoftBank is positioning itself to secure a large portion of this new band.

In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been working to
open up the 3.5GHz band for wireless broadband small-cell deployment via a
shared-access system with incumbent licensees. The propagation loss characteris-
tics of the 3.5GHz bands make them amenable for high-frequency reuse to
enable dense small-cell deployments, and the amount of available spectrum in
these bands fares well for broadband quality.

In Europe, the CEPT/ECC is working with national regulators to define the preferred
TDD or FDD allocation system for accommodating multipoint fixed wireless systems
in the 3.4-3.6GHz and 3.6-3.8GHz bands. Subsequent to the last CEPT meeting,
more than 90 percent of respondents in CEPT showed their preference for TDD
over FDD. Guidelines may soon be issued to synchronize TDD spectrum to avoid
restricted blocks and large guard bands. European operators like Bollor would
like their local regulators to adopt the CEPT/ECC PT-1 band plan to release more
TDD spectrum in the 3.5/3.6GHz bands.

Other key regulatory and technical issues will need to be resolved so operators
can fully exploit the use of 3.5/3.6GHz spectrum for TD-LTE Advanced small-cell
deployments. In many emerging market countries, the 3.5GHz band has been
primarily licensed for fixed BWA, and it is still not clear how these operators will
obtain regulatory approval to support TD-LTE services in a WiMax network. Many of
these operators are also seeking regulatory reforms that would remove technolo-
gy restrictions on its 3.5GHz spectrum license that prevent mobility and backhaul-
ing. The next step will be for the GTI and its 3.5GHz operator and vendor ecosys-
tem to work with the WiMAX Forum to begin working collaboratively to streamline
the regulatory arena especially in emerging markets and smooth the conver-
gence of WiMax to TD-LTE Advanced to protect the operator investments.