Brussels Sprouts LTE Auction Plans

6:10 AM -- Belgium will be the next European country to allocate new spectrum for Long Term Evolution (LTE) as the country's regulator, the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) , has announced five applicants for the upcoming auction. (See Belgium Preps 4G Auction.)

The auction, which is scheduled to start on Nov. 28, will be for spectrum in the 2.6GHz frequency.

Interestingly, the spectrum blocks on offer are not only the frequency division duplex (FDD) variety, but also time division duplex (TDD), which opens the way for some creative uses of the spectrum, such as a hybrid LTE deployment. (See LTE's Kissin' Cousins and Europe's LTE TDD Creep.)

The hybrid LTE option is already in evidence elsewhere in Europe. Hi3G Access AB , which operates the 3 brand in Sweden and Denmark, acquired TDD as well as FDD 2.6GHz spectrum in those countries and is already planning a hybrid FDD/TDD network with equipment from ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763). 3 must like the TDD spectrum because its Italian operation, 3 Italia , snapped up some TDD spectrum in Italy earlier this month as well. (See Euronews: Italians Pay €3.9B for Spectrum and ZTE Scores LTE TDD/FDD Deal .)

The Belgian regulator has not revealed the names of the applicants for the forthcoming auction. The current 3G license holders in the country are Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG), Mobistar SA , KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) (Belgium) and the newest licensee NV Telenet Tecteo Bidco, which is a consortium of cable operators Telenet and Tecteo.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Anne Morris 12/5/2012 | 4:51:00 PM
re: Brussels Sprouts LTE Auction Plans

Yes - suggestions I have seen are that Europe would be the first market to have concurrent FDD and TDD LTE and use TDD for extra capacity in the network, but perhaps with more uses down the line?

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:51:00 PM
re: Brussels Sprouts LTE Auction Plans

Could this new TDD spectrum be used for backhaul for small cells? Or is it too valuable for that?

I've heard of the possibility of using the 3G TDD spectrum that some operators already have in Europe for backhaul, particularly for small cells. Vodafone showed off such a system in Barcelona this year. I wonder how that concept is going.


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