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LTE Gathers Momentum but Spectrum Challenges Still Remain
Posted: 19-Jul-2011 [Source: ABI Research]

[Spectrum challenges still remain for commercial development and deployment of LTE networks globally reports ABI Research.]

Singapore -- ABI Research’s market data currently tracks 28 commercial FD-LTE networks, and counting. No TD-LTE network has gone live yet, but commercial launches of this technology jointly developed by China and Qualcomm are getting closer, with the Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) being formed in February this year to push forward its development and adoption. The five-month old initiative counts prominent WiMAX players such as Clearwire and P1 as its members, as well as major telco operators in Taiwan, India, Japan, and South Korea.

“The biggest concern facing many operators now is the squeeze on available spectrum,” says ABI research analyst Fei Feng Seet. “Regulators in certain countries have not yet announced any plans for LTE spectrum allocation.”

Countries such as Taiwan will not be ready for such LTE spectrum auctions any time soon, because the 700MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands, the most suitable for LTE, are still occupied.

Spectrum standardization for LTE deployments across the globe has also been a key issue. Verizon Wireless (along with a few other operators in the US) has led the way by facilitating LTE on 700MHz spectrum, while operators such as Mobyland in Poland and M1 in Singapore are using refarmed 1.8GHz spectrum. Several other operators are intending to deploy on higher spectrum bands such as 2.5 or 2.6GHz.

“A challenging issue to tackle will be the ability of LTE devices to support roaming across the various spectrum bands,” comments practice director Aditya Kaul, “but more industry collaboration is expected in the next few years as LTE achieves widespread adoption.”

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