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Thursday
Jun292017

TD-LTE: There was a good deal of scepticism 

TD-LTE today, the heavily Chinese-backed 4G standard, is a success today, with more than 1 billion users and operators snapping up its previously-overlooked spectrum.

But Sunil Mittal, chairman of both GSMA and one of the biggest TD-LTE operators, Bharti Airtel, has recalled its awkward early days.

Speaking at MWC Shanghai on Wednesday, he noted the importance of unpaired spectrum for densely-populated countries such as China and India.

"Frankly speaking, when we started to pick up the spectrum, and we paid a lot of money for it, we were not sure how fast the ecosystem would develop.

"There was a large deal of scepticiscm about whether we would have the devices. Would we get support from the handset manufacturers, the equipment vendors."

In 2011 he went to California with Softbank chairman Masayoshi Son to try to persuade Apple to introduce these new bands into the iPhone.

At that time Steve Jobs (who died in October 2011) was still alive but ill, so they met with Tim Cook.Bear in mind the TD was to be adopted by China Mobile, now one of Apple's biggest sources of income.

"There was resistance. There was reluctance that we would not be able to put all these new bands because there's a limitation on the iPhone.

"As keen an entrepreneur as Masa-san is, he pushed very hard. He won commitment from Tim Cook to introduce Band 41 (2496 MHz - 2690 MHz).

"I had to nudge him because I had band B40 (2300 MHz - 2400 MHz)at the time and he went into bat for me as well.

"And Tim Cook promised I'll do Band 41 first and then give me a few months and I'll do 40 as well.

"As they say the rest is history. Today almost every phone that comes out has all these bands put into it."

"TDD has now become a pure solid strong standard, which is reaping the dividends of this otherwise not-so-recognised spectrum. It's become golden spectrum."

Of course the iPhone

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