Italian ISP Tiscali signed a €40 million ($45 million) contract with China-based vendor Huawei for the deployment of a time division duplex LTE (TD-LTE) network in the 3.5 GHz frequency band.
The multi-year framework agreement comes less than a year after Tiscali merged with former WiMAX operator Aria, which had signalled its intention to shift to TD-LTE. The ISP said its goal is to provide speeds of up to 100 Mbps when the “fixed wireless” services are launched in the fourth quarter of this year, rising to 1 Gbps over time.
Tiscali plans to deploy the network throughout Italy with a target of serving 13 million households and businesses, particularly in areas where broadband coverage is poor. The agreement with Huawei covers the supply both of core and radio network equipment through to customer premises equipment.
The move will thus place the ISP in direct competition with rival mobile operators TIM, Vodafone and the future combined Three-Wind entity; all three operators now heavily market 4G services to Italian consumers and businesses.
The Global Mobile suppliers Association (GSA) also noted in August that while most operators have deployed LTE networks in paired spectrum using the FDD mode, the LTE TDD mode (TD-LTE) for operators with unpaired spectrum continues to develop in all regions.
Some 78 operators, equating to almost one in seven LTE operators, have commercially launched LTE service in TDD mode in 46 countries. Band 40 (2.3 GHz) is the most widely deployed spectrum and is used in 40 per cent of TDD (TD-LTE) networks.
However, the GSA noted that the 3.5-GHz ecosystem (bands 42 or 43) continues to grow, and 82 user terminals are now available in this band. Bands 40 (2.3 GHz) and 38 (2.6 GHz) have the most mature ecosystems followed by bands 41 and 39.
The association added that 23 operators have deployed both FDD and TDD modes in their networks, confirming that converged FDD and TDD LTE networks represents a growing trend amongst operators.
- see this Tiscali release