Current state and development perspectives of TD-LTE networks in the world

miststizzaMobile - Wireless

Dec 10, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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Popularity of single band LTE networks (TD-LTE) in the world is not as high as dual band networks (FDD-
LTE). Nonetheless, TD-LTE ecosystem is actively developing, and this technology gives a good opportunity
for companies that do not have mobile connection networks (so called Greenfield operators) to enter
mobile broadband access market. In addition, TD-LTE can be successfully used as a backhaul network for
‘small cells’ that are gaining popularity in the face of rapid increase of mobile data traffic. J'son & Partners
Consulting presents the main results of the research ‘Current state and development perspectives of Time
Division LTE networks (TD-LTE)’.
Current state and development perspectives of TD-LTE networks in the world
According to GSA data, by the beginning of May 2013 16 commercial TD-LTE networks were launched in
the world including 6 hybrid networks supporting both technologies TD-LTE and FDD-LTE. At the same
time total number of commercial LTE networks equaled 175, e.g. share of TD-LTE networks amounted to
less than 10%.
Operators choose TD-LTE due to the lack of frequency resources, one of the main contenders for this
technology are WiMAX-operators, many of which are strategically focused on switch from WiMAX to LTE.
But the main driving force of TD-LTE is the largest mobile phone operator China Mobile, which launched
large-scale testing of TD-LTE network in China. By the end of 2013 the operator plans to deploy about 200
thousand TD-LTE base stations in 100 cities of the country, covering about 300 million citizens.
As at the end of the 1
st
quarter of 2013 the largest TD-LTE operators
1
were Softbank Mobile (Japan) with
1.25 million subscribers and Mobily (Saudi Arabia) with around 1 million subscribers in January, 2013. With
the support of the largest manufacturers of equipment and chipsets (Huawei, Samsung, ZTE, Qualcomm
and others), these and other TD-LTE network operators, such as, for example, Bharti Airtel (India), will
jointly develop an ecosystem of LTE in single band.
According to the forecast of industrial organization TDIA, the number of subscribers of TD-LTE networks in
the world will reach 210 – 300 million subscribers by 2016 (Fig.1), which will represent 10-20% of the total
subscribers base of LTE network. According to the forecasts of Informa Telecoms & Media, by 2017 this
figure will reach almost 250 million or about a quarter of the total number of LTE subscribers. According to


1
Softbank Mobile uses AXGP (Advanced eXtended Global Platform) technology compatible with TD-LTE
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the source of information – J’son & Partners Consulting.
™ J’son & Partners [registered trade mark].

2

more optimistic forecast of ARC Chart, the subscribers base of TD-LTE networks will amount to 500 million
subscribers by 2017, and revenues from services will equal $ 91 billion. Number of TD-LTE network users is
forecasted to be 10.8 million against 200 million subscribers of FDD-LTE by the end of 2013.

Fig.1. Forecast of the number of TD-LTE network subscribers in the world in 2016, mln.
people

* taking into account availability of TD-LTE operators in China
Source: TDIA
In future technology will gain popularity due to the possible expansion of the frequency band suitable for
its implementation. In particular, according to TDIA, with time, frequencies used for 2G networks, will be
fully converted for the use in LTE-band. There are also plans for the development of TD-LTE band at 3.4-
3.8 GHz and higher frequencies.
One of the possible perspectives of TD-LTE development is its use as a basic eRelay network for small cells
or a network of fixed broadband Internet access. It is the principal based UK Broadband network is
constructed in the UK.
Technologically TD-LTE network can be constructed while using a combination of macro- and small cells.
Their main differences include coverage space and the maximum number of subscribers that can be served
in the cell. It is forecasted that by 2017 approximately two thirds of small cells will be used to support TD-
and FDD-LTE networks.
Ecosystem of subscribers devices supporting TD-LTE is also actively developing. Over the last year and a
half the number of available consumer TD-LTE devices in the market increased by 14 times, while the total
number of LTE devices increased by 4 times. The main trends in this market segment include growing
popularity of multi-standard devices used for work in GSM/WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/LTE FDD/TD-LTE networks
and models range extension. In the structure of TD-LTE devices dominate routers and USB-modems –
these devices occupy ¾ of the market (Fig.2). However, the number of both announced and commercially
available user devices supporting TD-LTE fall short of the number of FDD-LTE. For example, according to
GSA, as at the beginning of July 2013 200 TD-LTE devices were announced in the world against 948 FDD-
LTE devices. The first TD-LTE smartphone was launched in the 2
nd
quarter of 2012 (ZTE Grand Era LTE,
supports both TDD and FDD). In June 2013, Sony launched its first smartphone supporting TD-LTE, which
was designed for China Mobile operator.
100 100
110
200
Realistic forecast

Optimistic forecast

Other countries

China

Copyright © 2013, J’son & Partners Consulting. Media can use any text, diagrams and data contained in this market review only with giving credit to
the source of information – J’son & Partners Consulting.
™ J’son & Partners [registered trade mark].

3


Fig.2. Structure of subscribers devices market supporting TD-LTE

Source: GSA, April 2013
Drivers and constraints of TD-LTE market
Main drivers of TD-LTE network market in middle-term perspective include the following:
 lack of necessity in dual band in the context of its heavy deficit,
 relatively low cost of infrastructure and frequencies,
 support from the part of the largest vendors and operators, industry organizations,
 possibility of FD-LTE network convergence.
At the same time market development is restrained by such factors as relatively low spectral efficiency of
TD-LTE, the need to use protection intervals in frequency band in order to prevent interference and the
need for synchronization of base stations, as well as limited range of user equipment.
Perspectives and forecasts of TD-LTE development in Russia
Development of TD-LTE networks in Russia is quite slow. At the beginning of July 2013 the country had
two commercial TD-LTE networks launched by the largest operators – MTS and ‘Megaphone’, both covering
the territory of Moscow and Moscow region (Table 1). At the same time companies are developing FDD-
networks, for which smartphones have already came into the market. Apparently MTS and ‘Megaphone’ do
not plan to expand existing TD-LTE networks till a wider range of consumer devices will appear in the
market.
Other companies that own frequency for TD-LTE cannot start their activities due to administrative barriers.
For example, ‘Vainah Telecom’ cannot put network into commercial use due to the lack of equipment,
which has Russian status, and ‘Osnova Telecom’ – due to problems with frequencies (the company is trying
to return through court frequencies previously assigned to it). Currently ‘VimpelCom’ is only developing
FDD-LTE network.

Routers
52%
USB-modems
24%
Smartphones

11%
Modules
11%
Tablets
2%
Copyright © 2013, J’son & Partners Consulting. Media can use any text, diagrams and data contained in this market review only with giving credit to
the source of information – J’son & Partners Consulting.
™ J’son & Partners [registered trade mark].

4

Table 1. Main TD-LTE networks in Russia
Operator
Network
status
Real

number of
basic
stations

Planned
number of
basic
stations

Regional
coverage
Vendors

Commercial
Around 100
More than
500
Moscow – 80%
BS, MR –
20%BS
Huawei

Commercial Around 1 100 More 2 000
Moscow – 700
BS, MR – 400 BS
NSN

Pre-
commercial
status
No
information
More 2 000
(plan for
2013 г.)
Plans: 40 cities
(2013), 165
cities (2014)
ALU and
Huawei

Pre-
commercial
status
180 Around 380
The Chechen
Republic
NSN

Construction
has not started
yet
No
information
3

000

(
plan

for 2012
transferred
to 2013)
Licensed
territory - 39 RF
regions
Ericsson
Source: J’son & Partners Consulting, Icominvest, operators’ data, May 2013
In general TD-LTE networks are currently used solely for Internet access services. There are no voice
technology services in Russian TD-LTE networks yet.
In

midterm

perspective

by

2017
TD
-
LTE

technology

may

obtain

25%
of

LTE

subscribers.
According

to

J

son

&
Partners

Consulting

TD
-
LTE market size will not exceed 3
-
4 mln.
subscribers.



Copyright © 2013, J’son & Partners Consulting. Media can use any text, diagrams and data contained in this market review only with giving credit to
the source of information – J’son & Partners Consulting.
™ J’son & Partners [registered trade mark].

5

Detailed

results

of

the

research

are

presented

in

the

full

version

(65
pages
)
of

the

report

‘Current state and development perspectives of Time Division LTE networks (TD
-
LTE) in
Russia and in the world


Content
Summary
1. Technological characteristics of TD-LTE
1.1. Advantages and disadvantages of TD-LTE and FD-LTE
1.2. TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA technologies
1.3. Hybrid TDD/FDD network
2. TD-LTE ecosystem in the world and in Russia
2.1. TD-LTE frequency band
2.2. Commercial and planned TD-LTE networks
2.3. Subscribers base and revenues of TD-LTE operators
2.4. TD-LTE infrastructure
2.4.1. Macrocells: revenues from sales and delivery (units)
2.4.2. Small cells
2.5. TD-LTE devices
3. Drivers and constraints of TD-LTE market
3.1 Drivers
3.1.1 No need in dual band
3.1.2 Support from the part of vendors
3.1.4 Other drivers
3.2 Constraints
3.2.1 Lower coverage compared to FD-LTE
3.2.2 Influence of pretection intervals
3.2.3 Sinchronization necessity
3.2.4 Other constraints
4. Perspectives and forecasts of TD-LTE development in the world and in Russia
4.1. Perspectives of TD-LTE network development in Russia
4.1.1. MTS
4.1.2. MegaPhone
4.1.3. Rostelecom
4.1.4. Osnova Telecom
4.1.5. Vainah Telecom
4.1.6. Antares
4.1.7. Enforta
4.1.8. Other operators
Copyright © 2013, J’son & Partners Consulting. Media can use any text, diagrams and data contained in this market review only with giving credit to
the source of information – J’son & Partners Consulting.
™ J’son & Partners [registered trade mark].

6

4.1. Forecasts of subscriber base by revenues of TD-LTE and FD-LTE networks
4.2.1 in the world
4.2.2 in Russia
5. Conclusions and recommendations
Annex 1. List of networks, which are to be launched within 2013-2015
Annex 2. Profiles of operators of TD-LTE commercial networks
Softbank Mobile Corp. (Japan)
Bharti Airtel (India)
China Mobile HK (CM HK, HongKong)
NBN Co (Australia)
Mobily (Saudi Aravia)
STC, Saudi Telecom Group (Saudi Aravia)
Omantel (Oman)
Sky Brazil (Brazilia)
On Telecomunicacoes (Brazilia)
UK BroadBand (Great Britain)
Aero2 (Poland)
3 (Sweden)
MTS (Russia)
Telkom Mobile (South Africa)
Annex 3. List of companies, mentioned in the report
Annex 4. LTE tariffs in Russia
List of Figures
Fig.1. Forecast of subscribers base of TD-LTE networks in 2016, mln. people
Fig.2. Market size of small cells for TD-LTE networks in 2013 and 2017, mln. units

Fig.3. Differences in use of bands in FDD and TDD LTE networks
Fig.4. Statistics of peak rate for downloaded and uploaded data in China Mobile network , by the standards of communication, Mbyte / s
Fig.5. Scheme for frequences band division in commercial network TD/FDD-LTE
Fig.6. Frequencies TD-LTE spectrum by groups, % by number of commercial networks TD-LTE
llustration 7. Geographical spread of the running-up TD-LTE networks, May 2013
Fig.8. Geographical spread of the running-up by regions, % by the number of the planing to launch networks
Fig.9. Subscribers’ base forecast LTE-FDD and LTE-TDD, 2011-2017
Fig.10. Comparative characteristics of macro- and small cells
Fig.11. The number of installed base stations for TD-LTE standard, thousand units
Fig.12. Wireless networking technologies, for which development small cell are necessary, in the period from 2012 to 2016
Fig.13. The volume of the market of small cells for TD-LTE networks, in 2013 and 2017, mln.units
Fig.14. The market structure of subscriber devices designed to work in TD-LTE networks, a% of the total (as of April 2013)
Fig.15. The number of devices in the global market, capable of working in TD-LTE standard, by frequency, by April 2013
Fig.16. The scheme of shelterbelt
Fig.17. The structure of mobile subscribers by the standards of communications in 2018, by regions,%
Fig.18. Subscribers’ base of LTE networks forecast for 2013-2016, mln.users (IHS iSuppli Research)
Fig.19. Subscribers’ base of LTE networks forecast for 2013-2017, mln.users (Informa Telecoms&Media)
Fig.20. Subscribers’ base of LTE networks forecast for 2013-2016, mln.users by used technology
Fig.21. Number of subscribers of TD-LTE networks forecast in 2016, mln.people
Fig.22. Covered are of TD-LTE and FDD-LTE networks in 2018, % of the number of population
Fig.23. Mobile network subscribers’ share used the 4G networks and share of the used traffic, %
Fig.24. Mobile operators revenue from the voice services, 2012-2016
Fig.25. LTE operators revenue forecast, 2013-2017, bln.USD
Fig.26. Subscribers’ base dynamic of TD-LTE network of Softbank Mobile operator, thousand users


Copyright © 2013, J’son & Partners Consulting. Media can use any text, diagrams and data contained in this market review only with giving credit to
the source of information – J’son & Partners Consulting.
™ J’son & Partners [registered trade mark].

7

List of Tables
Table 1. Pros and cons of TD-LTE
Table 2. Classification of TD-LTE frequencies by ranges and countries
Table 3. Most popular combinations of frequences by regions, Mhz
Table 4. List of operators launched in use commercial network TD-LTE
Table 5. List of operators launched the hybrid network TDD/FDD LTE
Table 6. Subscribers’ equipment of TD-LTE and TD/FDD LTE in Russia
Table 7. Major manufactures of equipment for creating TD-LTE networks
Table 8. Vendors which equipment had been used to launch commercial TD-LTE networks
Table 9. List of operators planning to launch TD-LTE networks
Table 10. MTS’ tarrifs for services in LTE network
Table 11. Megafon’s tarrifs for services in LTE network

List of companies mentioned in the Report
21 Vianet Group

COTA

Mobily

Sazz

3

Datame

Movilmax

Sky Brazil

Aero2

DBD

MTNL

Smoltelecom

Aeronet

Dedicado

MTS

STC, Saudi Telecom Group

Aircel

Enforta

NBN Co

Telkom Mobile

Antares

Fitel

Neo
-
Sky

Tikona

Asiaspace

Global Mobile

Nepal Telecom

UK BroadBand

b•lit

IBW International

NITA

Vainakh Telecom

Bharti Airtel

IM2

Omantel

Velatel

Blueline

Imagine Group

On Telecomunicacoes

Velatel

Bollore Telecom

Linkem

Osnova Telecom

Velatel
-
Aerostrong

BSNL

MaxyTel

P1 Networks

Vimpelcom

BUCD

Megafon

Reliance incl QAP

Xplornet

China Mobile

Menatelecom

Rostelecom

Zoda Fones

Clearwire

Milmex







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