Ericsson Goes Down Under for LTE Win

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has landed its first role in Australia's national broadband network (NBN) in a A$1 billion (US$1.1 billion) deal to build and operate a Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) network in rural areas of the country.

NBN Co Ltd. , the company established by the Australian government to run the NBN for its national, $38 billion broadband program, selected Ericsson in a 10-year agreement to supply, operate and maintain the LTE radio access, evolved packet core backhaul transmission and business support systems, including service activation, management and assurance as well as network performance and capacity management.

Ericsson says it has already started work on building the LTE TDD network, which will be for fixed wireless use and is due to be completed by 2015. Services are scheduled to launch commercially in mid-2012.

The network will be deployed in the 2.3GHz frequency band with downlink speeds expected to max out at 12 Mbit/s coupled with uplink speeds up to 1 Mbit/s.

Why this matters
Ericsson's LTE contract with Australia's NBN is more interesting than significant because it uses the LTE TDD flavor of the mobile broadband technology. It's not the first, but it is certainly an early and sizable LTE TDD equipment contract. The service launch date of mid-2012 gives an indication of the technology's commercial readiness, at least for use in the 2.3GHz band.

It also shows that LTE TDD commercial activity has more momentum. According to Ericsson's Ulf Ewaldsson, VP and head of product area radio, there is a lot of LTE TDD activity in India now. "This win in Australia positions us very well in the India market," he tells Light Reading Mobile.

This project also makes Australia the latest country to use LTE technology as an option to supply broadband access to rural areas where fixed-line infrastructure is nonexistent or too expensive to deploy. (See V'fone Germany to Test LTE for Rural Broadband.)

For more
See these stories for more on Australia's national broadband initiative and LTE TDD developments:

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:03:40 PM
re: Ericsson Goes Down Under for LTE Win

Somthing else to point out here is that this LTE TDD network will be operated on a wholesale basis, as I understand it, like the NBN's FTTP project. This is a good way to get broadband infrastructure to rural areas where network duplication would be financially unthinkable.

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