Vodafone will be first to take advantage of LTE FDD/TDD network convergence and carrier aggregation, starting with its network in Portugal, thanks to technology from Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated. This move will allow the operator to combine the best characteristics of LTE FDD and TDD modes. Adding TDD to the already installed FDD network significantly enhances the total downlink data capacity and improves subscribers’ mobile broadband experience. In addition, FDD/TDD carrier aggregation extends the app coverage of the TDD layer by up to 230 percent.
Greater capacity and coverage will be needed in the short term as mobile traffic demand is expected to grow nine times by 2020, according to Ericsson Mobility Report projections (June, 2015). With wider device support expected later this year, implementing converged carrier aggregation technology in live networks now means the operator will be able to hit the ground running when handsets are available.
Using only a software update to Ericsson baseband hardware already operating in the network, Ericsson’s Networks Software 15B release enables simultaneous operation of LTE FDD and TDD.
Per Narvinger, Head of LTE, Ericsson, says: “Combining TDD with low-band FDD spectrum will improve the high-band TDD coverage area, and the TDD spectrum will significantly improve the overall downlink throughput. With global availability of TDD spectrum, we regard FDD/TDD carrier aggregation as a key technology to further improve user experience for customers worldwide.”
Enrico Salvatori, SVP and President of Qualcomm Europe, says: “We are delighted to work with Ericsson and Vodafone on the latest LTE-Advanced multimode solutions and to deliver consumers an improved mobile broadband experience. The Snapdragon 810 processor with X10 LTE builds upon our leadership in LTE-Advanced technology by supporting carrier aggregation across LTE TDD and LTE FDD.”
Vodafone’s current deployment for the trial in its commercial network in Portugal uses 15 MHz of band 3 (FDD 1800) and 20 MHz of band 38 (TDD 2600) and tests are supported by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 810 processor with X10 LTE running in a device. The Snapdragon 810 processor with X10 LTE is a product of Qualcomm Technologies.
Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies were first to achieve FDD/TDD carrier aggregation on commercial hardware and software in live demos last year.
Ericsson is present today in all high-traffic LTE markets including the US, Japan and South Korea, and is ranked first for handling the most global LTE traffic — 40 percent of the world’s mobile traffic is carried over Ericsson networks, which is twice as much mobile traffic as the closest competitor. Ericsson is number one in LTE market share within the world’s top 100 cities. More than 220 LTE RAN and Evolved Packet Core networks have been delivered worldwide, of which 170 are live commercially.