Motorola and China Mobile demonstrate TD-LTE for first time
Published: 9 October, 2009
Motorola is determined to leverage its expertise in TDD-based OFDM technologies, acquired through its strong position in WiMAX, to lead in the emerging market for TD-LTE. Although it is unclear how broadly this will be adopted round the world, it is being clearly led by China Mobile, and the carrier teamed with Motorola to demonstrate TD-LTE at this week's ITU Telecom World event in Geneva.
The two companies have already worked on TD-LTE trials in Budapest, Hungary, where Vodafone and Verizon Wireless tested FDD versions of the new network, and have now moved to field tests in China. China Mobile has also tested a prototype TD-LTE femtocell with Nokia Siemens, while Ericsson has been heavily involved in the development of TDD and dual-mode LTE standards.
In Geneva, Motorola conducted the world's first live 2.6GHz TD-LTE demonstration, running high definition video, GPS navigation, videoconferencing and high speed internet browsing to a moving vehicle. Peak downlink speed was 112Mbps at the China Mobile booth and 60Mbps in the van. The vendor also showed TD-LTE technology as connectivity for standard Wi-Fi devices, also an approach adopted by early WiMAX adopters to harness existing installed bases of products. Motorola has also recently demonstrated its FDD-LTE systems in 2.6GHz and 700MHz, the main bands for early deployments.
Bruce Brda, senior VP and general manager of wireless networks, at Motorola, said: "We are seeing great interest in TD-LTE, because it enables operators with TDD spectrum to deliver increased capacity and a lower cost per bit. TD-LTE accelerates the delivery of rich personalized media experiences to consumers and makes LTE a truly encompassing global technology standard."
Fred Wright, senior VP in charge of WiMAX and cellular networks, has stressed for years the similarities between WiMAX and LTE, especially in TDD mode, and argued that the 80% overlap between the two would give Motorola a headstart in key markets like China. Wright, like most sensible vendors, sees no conflict between supporting LTE and WiMAX, and perceives the need to position them differently mainly as an issue for stock analysts and marketeers, not customers. However, he does see different user bases developing for the two architectures and so, rather than selling two competing alternatives across the board, Motorola will offer two fairly similar technologies to quite distinct user segments - the two having sufficient differences of heritage and vendor focus, if not physical design, to appeal to quite different constituencies.
He told Rethink recently: "WiMAX got sidetracked in 2005-6 when LTE was a distant dream and WiMAX was seen as the next coming for high mobility wireless for the cellcos. But for carriers that already have GSM and HSPA, they get to use some embedded elements of the existing core - it's natural to move to LTE. WiMAX has different customers with different often new, business models."
Wright concluded: "We got high marks from China Mobile, partly because of our expertise from WiMAX in terms of elegant design and in schedulers and the other exotic software needed for TDD, as opposed to FDD. Ericsson has no real experience in TDD or WiMAX."