Manufacturers flock to build TD-LTE devices

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Smartphones supporting TD-LTE networks have almost doubled during the past year, following a sharp growth in the number of countries using the technology.

According to new figures from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), smartphones make up 35 percent of all TD-LTE devices, a rise of 87% since March 2014.

The organisation's Status of the Global LTE TDD Market Report reveals an increase in the number of TD-LTE devices across the globe, with 530 of the 1,889 LTE-devices introduced to the market now supporting TDD spectrum. This is an increase of 330 since last year, when smartphones accounted for just 10 percent of all TD-LTE products.

LTE networks work using either paired Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) spectrum or unpaired Time Division Duplexing mode (TDD), or TD-LTE, spectrum. Although FDD is currently the most common format, TDD is regarded as the most efficient and highest performing of the two.

Thirty-nine operators across 26 countries have now deployed TD-LTE services, according the GSA’s report. Eighty-five device manufacturers have launched TD-LTE products, with 96 percent of smartphones now supporting both TDD and FDD LTE bands.

Alan Hadden, President of GSA, said: "TDD operators are focusing more on personal mobility and the smartphone is the key segment. Recent progress has been excellent and 184 TDD smartphone products have now been announced, which is 87% more than the total in March 2014."

GSA estimated more than 100 operators globally are currently investing in LTE TDD, with 48 confirmed as currently planning or deploying networks. Of the 39 LTE TDD networks, 13 operators have launched converged systems, which use both TDD and FDD modes. For example, operators in India are currently launching networks that use both LTE FDD 1800MHz (band 3) and TDD 2.3GHz (band 40) spectrum.

Of the commercially available LTE TDD spectrums, band 40 (2.3GHz) is currently the most common, used by 19 networks. This is followed by band 38 (2.6GHz) in nine networks and band 41 (2.6GHz) in eight.

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