Wednesday, 16 September 2009

CSL Crystal Clear About Their LTE Strategy

Tarek Robbiati, the CEO of CSL opening the LTE Asia conference in Hong Kong last week. The problem: 3G was always going to be disadvantaged against 2G spectrum bands of 900 and 1800 MHz. It set the scene for the rest of the conference, where spectrum was the topic discussed the most.

CSL will be launching UMTS900 and are looking to have a LTE ready network, by leveraging the SDR capabilities of ZTE. SDR (Software Defined radio) is a topic that has been talked about for years, but always looked like something that was ahead of its time. CSL have put in the time and the investment to make it work for them. They want their equipment to be software upgradable, so that they can quickly and smoothly to improve their time to market with LTE and save on costs.

CSL owns spectrum in the 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600MHz bands (the latter acquired in the recent auctions in 2009). They are going to start by addressing UMTS coverage by deploying it in the 900MHz band. LTE is then going to be rolled out across multiple bands! Whilst some operators are mulling over what band they will choose for an LTE deployment, Tarek simply stated that thay will use whatever spectrum they have and as much as they can for LTE. LTE will therefore be deployed in all four of the spectrum bands that they own.

Concerns were raised about standards that still need to be defined for voice services and the need for devices, but all of the CSL employees at the conference could not praise the Hong Kong regulator OFTA enough for the way the recent spectrum auction was managed. They must be over the moon with all of the spectrum they have and what they will be able to achieve with it.

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