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TD-LTE industry group looks to 5G with GTI 2.0

Unpaired TDD spectrum is taking an increasingly prominent role in 4G, as traditional paired bands become congested, and as the emphasis on data drives the need for a flexible balance between uplink and downlink capacity. In 5G, dense small cell architectures and IoT services will make TDD even more attractive, and the vendors and operators are looking this way already.

The industry body for TD-LTE, GTI (Global TD-LTE Initiative), held a summit during Mobile World Congress, which saw five major TDD operators – China Mobile, Bharti Airtel, KT, Softbank and Vodafone – jointly agreed to a five-year plan to push the adoption of TD-LTE and convergence with FDD; and to look ahead to 5G under the GTI 2.0 program.

GTI chairman Craig Ehrlich said the group’s initial missions had largely been accomplished and so “we’ve introduced GTI 2.0 to take us over the next three to five years and the focus is on 5G and vertical industries”. The organization was set up in 2011 to accelerate the commercialization of TD-LTE when it was still very much the junior 4G partner, and to converge TDD and FDD LTE technologies.

Now, it says that 122 operators in 43 countries have TDD deployments, 26 of which are converged TDD/FDD networks. The number of TDD subscribers has reached 470m, and GTI has 103 industry partners.

During the summit, China Mobile, the leader of the TD-LTE ecosystem and by far the largest deployer, announced a new 5G Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) to develop TDD 5G solutions, enlisting 11 partners. The group will be based in a new central lab in Beijing, as well as China Mobile regional labs in China. It plans to take part in 5G tests organized by the IMT-2020 promotion group in China, to promote 5G candidate technology validation, standards development, and industrial chain construction.

“By virtue of the lab, Chinese enterprises will be given more say and play a greater role in global 5G standardization and industrialization,” said Zhao Xianming, EVP of ZTE, one of the partners.

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