If you’ve followed YTL’s pronouncements over the years, the news of its TD-LTE trials has the air of inevitability.
YTL execs have never made a secret of their willingness to move off Wimax. Hong Leong Investment Bank's analyst Tan J Young speculates that the company, which operates the Yes brand, may lobby to acquire all of Asiaspace’s TD frequencies, which would give it a competitive 60MHz in total.
This isn’t the first Wimax defection and certainly won’t be the last. Russia’s Yota made the switch to FDD-LTE in dramatic fashion two years ago, and Clearwire is now owned by Softbank, Japan’s TD-LTE champion.
But a senior official from China’s MIIT, the state sponsor of the TD 3G and 4G programmes, is confident of an avalanche of Wimax operators joining the mobile standard.
Wen Ku, head of MIIT’s communications development department, says some 400 Wimax operators worldwide “will upgrade to TD-LTE, which is called Wimax 2.1.”
OK, so he’s counting every upgrade as a convert; Wimax Forum opened that door in 2012. But 400 is a big number, and the TD business case is vastly more appealing than Wimax’s. Those operators allowed to make the leap will surely do so.
At year-end 2013, 26 commercial TD-LTE networks were operating in 21 countries, with another 40 operators rolling out.