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India Inches Closer to LTE TDD

Ray Le Maistre
8/30/2011

India took a step closer to becoming the first major Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) market with the announcement from a number of device vendors that multi-mode dongles will become commercially available in the coming months, around the same time or even shortly before LTE services are commercially available. (See India to Lead the Way With LTE TDD.)

BandRich Inc. , Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Quanta Computer Inc. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) have all developed dongles housing Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s multi-mode MDM9x00 chipsets that enable connections to 3G (HSPA and EV-DO) networks, as well as LTE TDD. (See Qualcomm Teams on LTE TDD Devices.)

Huawei looks like it is first to market with its E392 dongle that has already been tested by mobile operator Aircel Ltd. , with the other vendors launching shortly afterwards. In addition, ZTE has told Light Reading India that it's set to launch a low-cost LTE tablet early in 2012. (See LTE Rollout in India Soon? and ZTE to Launch LTE Tablet in 2012.)

This means that potential users wishing to sign up to early LTE services in India will be able to choose from a number of different devices, an important step towards creating a viable market.

LTE services are expected to be launched by India's Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) license-holders in late 2011 and early 2012 -- and it's worth remembering that, currently, one of those license-holders is Qualcomm. (See Qualcomm Yet to Secure Critical ISP License .)

Much is expected of the various LTE TDD launches in India, as the country needs a broadband services boom to help push the country's economy to further heights and provide greater opportunities to those outside the main urban areas. (See Report: 17 Million LTE Users in India by 2016.)

So far, other broadband services have failed to deliver the goods. India has 1.2 billion people and about 600 million active mobile connections, but has just 12.3 million fixed-line broadband users. And while 3G services were launched recently by several operators, much of that capacity is being used for voice rather than data services.

In effect, India is relying on LTE TDD to deliver the kind of mass-market data connectivity services that can herald a new era for the country's communications services sector and deliver the Indian government's broadband targets. (See Broadband: The Bigger Picture, India's Broadband Test and Can BWA Deliver for India?)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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