TD-LTE fights for relevance at MWC

TD-SCDMA proponents hoping not to be left out of the expected LTE hype in Barcelona this week received a boost Friday from Nortel Networks, which announced it had completed the first end-to-end video streaming session using TD-SCDMA's 4G incarnation, TD-LTE.

Engineers at Nortel's joint venture GDNT (Guangdong Nortel Telecommunications) R&D facility in Guangzhou completed the streaming video session between an LTE base station and a prototype TD-LTE device in late January, the company said in a statement.

TD-LTE - which is TD-SCDMA's evolutionary path to OFDMA-based 4G - was completed as a standard by 3GPP at the end of last year, but has yet to be put through its paces in field trials and interoperability tests.

The Nortel demo - which will also be on show at the Mobile World Congress this week - is the first such test to go public.

The news comes as the TD Industry Association, the industry collective promoting TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE, plans its own demo of TD-LTE in Barcelona, using equipment from marquee names like China Mobile, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, Datang, Nokia-Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent.

All of which could be good news at least for the world's only TD-SCDMA licensee, China Mobile, which plans to cover almost 240 cities with TD networks by the end of this year, and begin launching TD-LTE next year.

That would put it well ahead of FDD-based LTE, which will be officially part of Release 8 in March this year, but isn't expected to see commercial deployment for at least two more years.

According to ABI Research, most of the cellcos that have announced firm plans to deploy LTE won't do so until at least 2011. That should give plenty of meat to the LTE debate at MWC this week.

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