Mobile operator E-Plus, the German unit of Dutch telecoms group KPN, has announced it will launch a Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (TD-LTE) field test in the first quarter of 2011 in cooperation with China Mobile and Chinese hardware vendor ZTE. The trials will use spectrum in the 2.6GHz frequency band which E-Plus secured in Germany’s May 2010 spectrum auction. ZTE will provide base stations based on the Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform, which offer an integrated LTE Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and TD-LTE solution. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, E-Plus emerged as Germany’s only mobile operator not to have won any spectrum in the lucrative 800MHz band, suitable for the provision of LTE. Instead, the company acquired two blocks of 2×4.95MHz in the 2GHz range, and two channels of 2×5MHz in the 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz bands. E-Plus is Germany’s third largest mobile network operator by subscribers, with a total of 19.9 million customers at 30 September 2010, equating to a market share of 18.6%.