The three influential carriers launched an industry initiative here at the LTE World Summit to put their case to the device ecosystem, and more operators are expected join the cause.
The move marks a shift in operator preferences for LTE spectrum. In Europe, the spectrum typically earmarked for LTE covered the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands. Now -- especially with the European Commission 's recent decision to allow 2G spectrum refarming -- 1800MHz has emerged as the preferred choice for LTE networks.
According to Deutsche Telekom's LTE program manager Denis Gautheret, the change comes from experience. Deutsche Telekom, as well as TeliaSonera, both run commercial LTE networks and the verdict on 2.6GHz spectrum is that it's inefficient and expensive, although necessary where extra capacity is required, Gautheret told Light Reading Mobile.
"1800MHz is the most promising spectrum band for LTE for coverage and capacity," said Tommy Ljundggren, VP system development, mobility services, at TeliaSonera.
TeliaSonera wants support for three different bands for LTE in its devices -- 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz. Those are the spectrum support specs that it gives to its device suppliers.
Why this matters
You could forgive the handset makers and device chipset suppliers for being confused, even frustrated, as the operators have changed their minds about which spectrum they prefer to use for LTE.
With this initiative, mobile operators have come together to support a few prime bands for LTE. But the development does not do much to resolve the issue of frequency fragmentation with which device vendors have to contend. Recent research from Informa Telecoms & Media shows there are already 19 distinct frequency bands in which LTE is commercially deployed.
In Europe, there may be three -- or four, if 2100GHz is included -- preferred European spectrum bands for LTE, but that doesn't account for all the different 3G bands that devices will have to support.
Here's the latest on LTE deployments at 1800MHz:
- Deutsche Telekom Reveals Next LTE Move
- Poland Taps Huawei for First LTE
- MWC 2011: Telstra Sticks With Ericsson for LTE
- German Operators Get Busy With LTE
- Vodafone Germany Gears Up for LTE
- Telstra, Huawei Do LTE at 1800MHz
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile