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4G/3G/WiFi

Mobily Preps LTE TDD Launch

7:00 AM -- While prospects for the widespread availability of Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) service in India in the near future look good, it seems Saudi Arabia may be the first market to experience mass-market mobile broadband services using the emerging technology, with a service launch looking likely in October. (See India Inches Closer to LTE TDD and India's First LTE Deals.)

Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily) announced LTE TDD deals with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Samsung Corp. in February and outlined its plans to use its existing WiMax passive infrastructure to build an overlay network.

Now Huawei has announced that its B593 LTE TDD wireless broadband router will be available through Mobily in October, while Samsung, which is keen to make an impact as a next-generation mobile infrastructure supplier in the EMEA region, noted today in a general press release that it "plans to launch the industry’s first LTE SmallCell solution in Japan in 2012 and the world’s first TD-LTE network in Saudi Arabia in Q3 2011." (See Huawei Unveils LTE TDD Router and Samsung's Grand Plans for Euro LTE.)

Samsung was well placed to supply the network smarts for LTE TDD as it was already Mobily's WiMax network infrastructure supplier. (See Samsung Wins Saudi WiMax Deal.)

While it doesn't matter per se which operator or market is first with LTE TDD services, what does matter is that operators from other markets, including India, might learn some valuable lessons from Mobily's early experiences, especially in terms of device management and service assurance.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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