Alvarion to Support TD-LTE
The company's country head in India, Santhanam Gopalakrishnan, told attendees here at the Mobile Broadband Summit 2010 that a TD-LTE ecosystem will probably develop for the WiMax frequency bands in the next three to five years, and that Alvarion will support both technologies on its platform. (See Full House in New Delhi.)
The announcement is significant, as it is clear recognition by a leading WiMax vendor that many of the eight operators that hold BWA (Broadband Wireless Access) spectrum (a 20MHz slot in the 2.3GHz band) in India are likely to deploy WiMax 802.16e (or Mobile WiMax) infrastructure initially, and then migrate to TD-LTE later. (See India's BWA Auction Ends in $8.2B Drama.)
Industry bodies such as the WiMAX Forum , and chip players such as Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), are lobbying the market for an all-WiMax strategy that would see India's BWA players migrate from 802.16e to the next evolution of WiMax, 802.16m (or WiMax 2). (See WiMax vs. LTE: The Rematch and CommunicAsia 2010: Two Techs Set for 4G OK.)
Alvarion, though, seems to have its finger on the pulse of the BWA fraternity. Conversations held by Light Reading with several of India's BWA spectrum holders here in India this week suggest that the WiMax now, TD-LTE later scenario is currently the preferred option for a number of operators that hold BWA spectrum in a large number of India's 22 circles (service areas). (See India's Still Hot for WiMax, Says Forum and A Guide to India's Telecom Market for more on India's circles.)
And the vendor community will want to have the right technical solutions to meet the long-term needs of the BWA spectrum owners, who, between them, are set to spend anything between US$1.5 billion and $3 billion during the next five years (a Light Reading calculation) building out their networks. They're also likely to want to plan and build those networks fast to meet India's pent-up demand for broadband connectivity: India, a country of 1.15 billion people, currently has fewer than 10 million fixed-line broadband connections and just a few million 3G users.
The Israeli vendor isn't the only company that's preparing, or indeed ready, for any potential demand for converged WiMax/TD-LTE solutions. Tarvinder Singh, director of marketing and product management at Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s India operation, says his company already houses WiMax and TD-LTE on the same commercial platform, and that a migration from one to the other would require only a relatively minor change in the baseband capabilities of each base station deployed. (See Moto Joins LTE Club and Moto Supports WiMax, LTE.)
Other vendors that have developed both WiMax and TD-LTE infrastructure capabilities include Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763).
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading