(March 14th, by Yue Ming) Since acquiring TD-LTE licenses at the end of last year, the three domestic operators have been pulling out all stops to enable the construction of their 4G network. After less than six months, China Mobile and China Telecom both announced the launch of their 4G LTE services; China Unicom - which had shown less enthusiasm for 4G - announced at a press conference on March 18th about its 2013 performance that it would introduce an TD-LTE service in 25 cities and increase that figure to 300 by the end of 2014. There is no doubt that speed has been a buzz word in China's 4G network development.
DTmobile attributes the remarkable speed of development to the early start of Chinese communication enterprises in TD-LTE, and to the accumulation of experience derived therefore. This put China in the leading position in the TD-LTE technological standards domain. “Our next focus will be on actual commercial application, that is, how to help operators consolidate resources and create LTE networks with outstanding performance,” said Cai Yuemin, Chief Engineer in the Mobile Communication Division at DTmobile.
Stress on Architecture Rationality and Future Evolution Capacity during Network Construction
In relation to the rapid deployment of the existing TD-LTE network, DTmobile raised a string of key points worthy of attention, the first of which is the rationality of the network architecture and the future evolution capacity of the network.
From the perspective of the product itself, DTmobile adequately considered the future evolution of the technology when designing every base station product. For example, DTmobile’s TDRU348FA, as the key base station of the TD-SCDMA, can be smoothly upgraded to TD-LTE via a software upgrade, to enable joint coverage of TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA, thereby protecting the operator’s existing investment. In addition to boasting proven and tested base station products for building macro cell network, DTmobile also stands out in the future development of small base station products. Working together with Broadcom Corporation, DTmobile recently developed a new-generation small base station product for enterprises and private use. The product simultaneously runs multi-modes including TD-SCDMA, TD-LTE and Wi-Fi, providing customers with a range of high-capacity wireless access technologies, and helping operators make the smooth transition from TD-SCDMA to TD-LTE.
Focus on Business Awareness and Stress on Deeper and Wider Coverage and Faster Access Speed
“Mobile 4G places you one step ahead,” “An unprecedented remarkable technology is embracing you, helping you free up your life, release your passion, and demonstrate your individuality,” - these declarations sum up how Chinese operators describe 4G. We don’t discuss here how fabulous 4G is, but one thing is for certain - speed is the most critical factor in the 4G era. “Acceleration of 4G speed requires a heightened awareness of service. The operator not only has to ensure continuous coverage in the area of network building, it also needs to strengthen the depth and width of network coverage. DTmobile’s system-wide refined LTE coverage solution can solve the problem effectively,” said Wang Zhen, vice General Manager of the Mobile Communication Division at DTmobile.
DTmobile developed the system-wide refined coverage solution based on construction needs. It uses the F band for wide and shallow coverage and the D band for capacity absorption in key and hotspot areas. A low power consumption node is used in the remote terminal, which includes microcell, micro RUU and small base stations, and this is done in a flexible way to eliminate coverage blind spots. Coverage with microcell and macrocell complementing each other accommodates a range of scenarios and renders the network ubiquitous.
At the end of last year, DTmobile took the lead in its release of the first ultra-wideband hardware platform that supports the full 2.6GHz band(2500~2690MHz), which can be used by China Mobile, as well as by China Unicom and China Telecom in the TD-LTE network. This is particularly effective in forming industry scale advantages. Furthermore, the product supports up to four 20MHz (80MHz in total) carrier waves. From the perspective of operator network construction, ultra-wideband improves frequency spectrum utilization and fully resolves problems caused by a discrete spectrum. Resource sharing and dynamic allocation across the full band also enhances the overall capability of the wireless bandwidth, which in turn provides more stable support for numerous applications that require high data traffic.
If 2013 is seen as the first year of the 4G era in China, 2014 will be the boom year of TD-LTE. Recently, President Xi pointed out that we should, through innovation, build China into a country with powerful networks, and in this vein, Cai Yuemin said, “As a high-tech central SOE, DTmobile will fully present its technological strength and actively support the top 3 operators in China in network building based on their needs. We are committed to the TD-LTE network and to the development of communication channels across the nation!”
(5) DTmobile: Leading the Trend in 4G Innovation
As soon as the 4G licenses were issued in China at the end of 2013, TD-LTE construction began to pick up steam. As the proponent of TD-SCDMA standards and the core IPR owner of TD-LTE key technologies, what technological reserves has DTmobile accumulated to usher in the 4G era? What efforts has it made to drive the development of the industry? And how will it deal with the fierce market competition in the future?
“In 2011, Beijing initiated its 4G Project, acknowledging the 4G industry as a key sector for which the city should promote strategic emerging industries. The move injected new vitality into innovation at DTmobile,” Sun Xiaonan, vice general manager of DTmobile, said, “For many years, DTmobile focused on R&D of core technologies to cooperate with enterprises upstream and downstream of the industry chain and come up with innovations in standards, technology and products. Ultimately, it opened up a road to innovation for this high-tech industry.”
By July 2013, DTmobile owned over 16,000 patents, of which more than 90% were patents for invention, and of which a large proportion were jointly applied by DTmobile and its partners in the 4G Project. At the end of 2013, DTmobile invented a “method, system and device for confirming whether packet data network connection has been established or not”, for which it received the Chinese Patent Award for Excellence at the 15th Chinese Patent Awards Presentation Ceremony.
In addition to breakthroughs in standards patents, DTmobile undertakes a huge amount of R&D in innovative technology and has achieved great things, due largely to its advantageous research resource in Beijing and its work together with colleges, universities, and research institutions. Among the results is TD-LTE enhancement technology — 8 antenna dual layer beam forming technology, the technology that most closely reflects the characteristic of TD-LTE. It combines the features and advantages of intelligent antenna beam forming technology and MIMO spatial multiplexing, and effectively boosts system throughput and the cell coverage ability of the network. Considering TD-LTE network performance and future MIMO continuous enhancement, operators prefer the tried and tested 8 antennas for outdoor macro base stations.
In 2013, DTmobile met the thriving 4G construction. With its technological accumulation in TD-LTE, DTmobile succeeded in forming partnerships with the top 3 operators. It is noteworthy that DTmobile entered the telecommunication market with the largest TDD share to provide TD-LTE network building service for 12 provinces. Subsequently, DTmobile, working with China Telecom, began installing and commissioning the TD-LTE demonstration base station in pilot cities. It also took the lead in launching the TDD First Call in a pilot city of China Telecom, which achieved good business results and made a landmark breakthrough in the TD-LTE technological testing undertaken by China Telecom.
During the development of the TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE industry, the Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Committee gave substantial support to DTmobile; specifically, from 2002, when the committee began to provide constant support to DTmobile working with research institutes and enterprises upstream and downstream of the industry chain in TD-SCDMA product development, 4G standards research and TD-LTE product R&D. The support also helped DTmobile make breakthroughs in a series of key technologies, which completed the system industry chain, enriched the product model range, and vigorously promoted the rapid development and maturity of the TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE industry.
“The achievements to date of DTmobile are largely the result of innovation and cooperation between players in the industry. During its 10+ years of continuous innovation, DTmobile has created and witnessed the amazing two-generation independent mobile communication technology development in China,” Sun Xiaonan said, “In the 4G era, DTmobile will continue playing its leading role in TD industry development and will remain being committed to driving the industrialization and international development of TD-LTE.”
Reflecting back over the long evolution of wireless mobile communication technologies, at the end of 2013 DTmobile issued a white paper on 5G( the fifth generation mobile communication technology), in which it looked into future technological development. Moving forward, the company will step up its strategic investment in areas such as technological standards research, patent development, and development of theory sample machines, so as to drive the upgrading and updating of communication throughout the nation.