Driven by the technology’s lower deployment costs and spectrum availability, TD-LTE refers to Time-division Long-Term Evolution. It is a 4G telecommunications technology and standard created by coalition of international companies. TD-LTE offers higher downlink and uplink rate as compared with LTE-FDD.
The telecommunication industry experienced multiple key TD-LTE network deployments over the past three years namely Sprint in the US, Bharti Airtel in India and SoftBank in Japan. Softbank network is the most complex commercial TD-LTE network in the world at present. Through its commercial network deployment, TD-LTE networks have been effectively authenticated within all network settings for commercial launch. In Tokyo, Japan, in spite of the urban overcrowding and complex networking scenario, TD-LTE vendors have came-up with a micro-cellular solution, having station distance of 100-200 meters. It has effectively resolved the problems associated with coverage in a dense urban space and complex networking environment.
Over 60 operators are dedicated to deploy TD-LTE networks across the world such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., ZTE and Nokia Networks B.V. among others. Additionally, all prominent device OEMs, counting smartphone leaders Apple Inc. and Samsung group, have launched TD-LTE compatible devices commercially. Major number of these devices supports both TDD and FDD modes of operation over broad frequency spectrum. Additionally, the recent launch of TD-LTE network by China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC) is expected to allow the TD-LTE ecosystem to reach a significant level of economy of scale by boosting device and infrastructure investments in TD-LTE technology. Additionally, this TD-LTE network by CMCC is expected to be comprised of 500,000 base stations in operation till the end of 2014.
Key driving forces for TD-LTE ecosystem market growth comprises of flexible uplink and downlink capacity associated with TD-LTE, interoperability with LTE-FDD, cheaper hardware cost and smooth transition from TD-SCDMA and WiMax. Major challenges restraining the TD-LTE ecosystem market growth include lower coverage as compared with LTE-FDD, use of guard periods and discontinuous reception.
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The market is segmented by TD-LTE devices, application sectors and services. TD-LTE devices include embedded cards, personal computers, consumer gadgets, USB dongles, notebooks, routers, smartphones and tablets. Application sectors include large and small enterprises, healthcare, retail, personal and education. Services include downlink biased services, uplink biased services and specific scenario services.
Downlink biased services include video on demand, video sharing, music and sound streaming, location services, mobile advertisement and broadband services. Uplink biased services include security video surveillance, broadcaster reporting system, live traffic monitoring, medical monitoring, logistics tracking, and device positioning system. Specific scenario services comprises of enterprise access network, radio backhaul transmission replacement, household fixed broadband replacement and other broadband access services in resorts and festivals.
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Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. dominates the TD-LTE infrastructure market share at present. Although, Telefonaktiebolaget L. M. Ericsson is anticipated to take benefit of forthcoming deployments opportunities in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Other leading players in the market include Alcatel-Lucent S.A., Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Group, Fiberhome Networks Co. Ltd., Nokia Networks B.V., Potevio Company, Samsung Group, ZTE Corporation, MediaTek, Inc., Sony Mobile Communications AB, Ingenic Semiconductor Co., Ltd., Innofidei Inc., Marvell Technology Group Ltd., ChongQing City Communication Technologies Co. Ltd, Qualcomm Inc., Spreadtrum Communications Inc., Broadcom Corporation, Leadcore National technology, Wavesat Telecommunications Ltd., Altair Engineering Inc., Renesas Electronics Corporation and Runcom Technologies Ltd. among others.