Telecom builds ‘world’s largest’ FDD-LTE network, sets out plans for three-layered ‘target network’

7 Jul 2015

China Telecom, the smallest of the country’s trio of mobile providers, claims to have built the world’s largest Frequency Division Duplex (FDD)-LTE network and plans to install 460 Long Term Evolution (LTE) base stations by the end of the year in a bid to increase 4G coverage to 95%, Sina Technology writes, citing Shen Shaoai, the deputy general manager of China Telecom’s Technology division, speaking at the China Telecom Mobile Terminal Technology Forum. Commenting on the cellco’s plans for 4G technology, the official explained that the ‘target network’ will consist of three layers: a wide coverage layer for basic voice and data services, using 850MHz and 700MHz frequencies (if the company can secure the latter in the future), as well as voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and voice-over-Wi-Fi (VoWIFI); a ‘gold capacity layer’ for core carrying, using 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz spectrum, either separately, or in concert via carrier aggregation (CA) technology; and a hotspot layer that will provide a ‘premium’ experience, incorporating the operator’s 2600MHz Time Division (TD)-LTE platform, and CA TD/FDD-LTE, to be augmented further by the addition of 3500MHz frequencies in the future.

To achieve this vision, Telecom is investing in CA trials, looking into the combination of TD and FDD-LTE to achieve downlink speeds of more than 1Gbps: the cellco showcased its Tianyi 4G+ service, which uses CA technology to provide data transfer rates of up to 300Mbps. Elsewhere, the cellco said that VoLTE would be commercially available by the end of 2017, with technical testing and verification, as well as the development of technical specifications to take place in 2015, whilst 2016 would see large-scale network construction and inter-operability testing.

China, China Telecom Corporation