Should BT Do LTE?

11:30 AM -- So, here's an interesting idea to ponder, thanks to a helpful reader: If BT decides to bid for spectrum in the delayed 2.6 GHz auction here in Little Britain, it should use it to roll out so-called 4G cellular technology Long-Term Evolution (LTE), not WiMax. Check out the reader comment to this recent Heavy Reading column. (See BT Suffers as Ofcom Delays 2.6GHz Auctions, BT's WiMax Wish, and BT Wants WiMax.)

T-Mobile and O2 have successfully delayed the 2.6 GHz mobile broadband auction -- and thereby the entry of new WiMax players in the U.K. -- through a legal challenge, but they should be careful what they wish for. If the auction is delayed for long enough, and if this idea about BT deploying LTE idea has any legs, the U.K.'s cellular operators could wind up with a formidable new 4G competitor. (See Ofcom Delays 2.6GHz Auction, UK Operators Brace for Spectrum Struggle, and UK WiMax Faces Spectrum Fight.)

Is this so wacky it just might work? Or is it more likely that BT will never get the green light from investors to spend billions on wireless spectrum, anyway?

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 4:03:59 PM
re: Should BT Do LTE?

The European band plan for 2.6 GHz is 2x70 MHz (FDD) + 50 MHz (TDD).

The UK regulator has gone to great lengths to complicate the allocation and mix up TDD and FDD, but essentially anyone who wins spectrum, will want to use standard European terminals, so actual deployment will have to align with rest of Europe.

People are speculating BT might be a bidder for T-Mobile UK if Telekom decides to sell.


kirankaipa 12/5/2012 | 4:04:00 PM
re: Should BT Do LTE?

Very good point!

I think there are efforts in the direction of TD-LTE but nothing concrete.

spc_isdnip 12/5/2012 | 4:04:01 PM
re: Should BT Do LTE?

In the US, the 2.6 band is unpaired spectrum, originally intended for video broadcasting.  Did the UK pair it? I don't know the European frequency tables that well.  Did I just see that Ericsson and TeliaSonera are trying LTE on 2.6?

LTE and mobile WiMAX are kissing cousins.  Both are OFDMA,  Both can use smart antennas (required for LTE). WiMAX, though, was really designed for single-frequency TDD, while LTE was really designed for dual-frequency FDD.  Either one is stretching to use the other's mode.  So that's how I'd select the air interface.  If BT has unpaired spectrum, though, I don't know how well LTE would suport it.


kirankaipa 12/5/2012 | 4:04:19 PM
re: Should BT Do LTE?

BT has the right infrastructure to support the backhaul bandwidth requirements for LTE

I believe it will be a better option compared to WiMax.

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