Industry momentum behind TD-LTE technology continues to grow with news that a number of major operators and vendors are working with the 3GPP to allow the standard to be deployed in the US in the 2.6GHz spectrum band, which is currently being used for WiMAX.  Light Reading Mobile – citing an initial article on the ‘LTE Watch’ blog – notes that China Mobile, Clearwire, Sprint Nextel, Motorola, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco Systems are among the companies asking for the 2.6GHz spectrum (2496MHz to 2690MHz) to be defined as a TDD band for LTE. Light Reading Mobile reports that although part of the band (2570MHz to 2620MHz) is already specified for TDD, the new work will extend this compliance. The report adds that specifications for the US 2.6GHz band for TD-LTE is scheduled to be completed by March 2011.

This development is significant for a number of reasons. TD-LTE (the unpaired ‘version’ of the more common FDD variant of LTE, being deployed by the likes of TeliaSonera and Verizon) is in its infancy, but recent industry moves suggest it could become an important technology. China Mobile – the world’s largest operator by subscribers – plans to commercially deploy the technology in the next few years, and earlier this month it emerged that it could gain a presence in India (the world’s second-largest, and fastest-growing, mobile market) when Qualcomm said it is bidding to deploy TD-LTE in the country’s 2.3GHz band. Certainly, a presence in the US market would give the technology even greater commercial credibility. Meanwhile the presence of Clearwire in the consortium of operators and vendors backing the US move indicates that the WiMAX service provider is keeping a very close eye on LTE. Only last week the head of Clearwire called for greater integration between competing next-generation mobile standards WiMAX and LTE.