NSN Ups TD-LTE Ante in India

Nokia Networks has positioned itself as one of the leading potential TD-Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology suppliers in India by staging what it claims is the country's first video call over a TD-LTE connection using Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum (2.3GHz).

NSN is one of a number of vendors keen to impress India's BWA license holders, which collectively shelled out billions of dollars on the 2.3GHz spectrum earlier this year. (See India's BWA Auction Ends in $8.2B Drama.)

Those license holders are still deliberating how best to use that spectrum, and, as a result, the vendors are keen to hold bragging rights about the capabilities of their emerging technology platforms. And there are plenty of companies that want to be seen as the technology leader: NSN might be claiming the first video call over TD-LTE spectrum in India, but Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) boasted the first TD-LTE connection in the country back in July. (See Ericsson Shows Off TD LTE in India.)

That the vendors are desperate to promote themselves as the most advanced is not surprising, as the six BWA spectrum owners have yet to make concrete network design plans and choose their suppliers.

A key decision for those network operators is whether to: build out a WiMax network now, and then stick with WiMax evolution technology in the long run; build a WiMax network now with a view to migrating to TD-LTE in a few years time, once the technology is more mature and a number of devices are available; or whether to wait for TD-LTE to develop, and go with that technology from the get-go. (See Rumor: India Coup for WiMax Camp , BWA Auction Is Bad News for WiMax's Future , and Qualcomm Names India LTE Investors .)

NSN wants to prove itself as a very able LTE technology provider, but will be able to add the WiMax options (plus more TD-LTE capabilities) to its portfolio once its acquisition of Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s network infrastructure business is completed. (See Moto Gives NSN a WiMax Option in India and Moto Demos TD-LTE in Shanghai.)

So it's interesting to note that the video call over BWA spectrum at NSN's R&D facility in Bengaluru was made by the COO of Indian operator Aircel Ltd. , which has yet to make a decision about its BWA technology roadmap. The operator, which already uses NSN as a supplier for its 2G mobile network, is also set to make its vendor decisions for its 3G network rollout any day now. (See Aircel Earmarks $500M for 3G.)

NSN faces stiff competition to land BWA-related network deals, though, especially from Alvarion Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), while Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) would also be keen to land a slice of any TD-LTE action. (See Alvarion to Support TD-LTE, ZTE Unveils WiMax/TD-LTE Unit, ZTE Completes TD-LTE Test, Anite, Huawei Demo TD-LTE Tests, AlcaLu Sets TD-LTE Record, and Huawei Builds TD-LTE Trial Net.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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