LTE on 700 MHz band, advantages and implementations around the world

As we inch closer to the upcoming spectrum auctions, all limelight is focused on the 800, 900, 1800 and 2100MHz frequency bands. But one of the most efficient bands for the deployment of LTE is less talked about and still remains shrouded in ambiguity, yes we are referring to the 700MHz band. The 700MHz band is one of the most sought after band for LTE deployment around the world due to its efficiency and higher penetration inside buildings and wider coverage which reduces the number of towers required for setting up the LTE network and thus significantly cuts down upon the capital expenditure involved in making the network live.

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The deployment of LTE services on the 700MHz band varies greatly from country to country across the globe with each group of countries dividing the band in a unique way to facilitate the deployment of LTE services. Here we will enlist the three main patterns of LTE deployment on the 700MHz band along with the countries following that standard.

US700 FD-LTE:

This pattern is followed in United States of America and Canada. This pattern divides the 700MHz band into 4 sub-bands known as LTE bands 12, 13, 14 and 17. All these are paired frequency bands used for FD-LTE deployment. Band 12 has 18MHz paired frequency and is being used by T-Mobile in USA. Band 13 has 10MHz paired frequency and is being used by Verizon in USA. Band 14 has 10MHz paired frequency. Band 17 has 12MHz paired frequency and is being used by AT&T in USA.

APT700 FD-LTE:

This pattern creates LTE band 28 and is currently being followed or has been chosen for deployment of FD-LTE in India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. This pattern divides the 700MHz band into 45MHz of paired frequency with the lower portion of the band used for uplink and the higher portion for downlink and 10MHz in between as a guard band. This band can either be auctioned as 15 blocks of 3MHz each or 9 blocks of 5MHz each or 3 blocks of 15MHz each for optimum utilisation of spectrum.

APT700 TD-LTE:

This pattern creates LTE band 44 and as of now is only being considered for deployment of TD-LTE by China. This pattern utilises the entire 100MHz width of the 700MHz band for TD-LTE. Band 44 can accommodate a maximum of 5 carriers with 20MHz block width. Unlike FD-LTE where uplink and downlink signals are carried on distinct frequency bands, TD-LTE involves carrying both set of signals on the same frequency band.

In India, the 700MHz band is still being used for terrestrial cable analog signals in non-metro areas. In the metro cities and type A circles the 700MHz band has been freed up through phase 1 and 2 of digitisation of cable completed last year. The deadline for completion of phase 3 of digitisation is 31st December 2015 and that of phase 4 is 31st December 2016 which will cover all semi-urban and rural areas. After all 4 phases are complete we should hope to see the 700MHz band being auctioned in early 2017. Operators like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea cellular are among the ones waiting for this band to be auctioned in India for its economic and technical value.

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9 Comments on "LTE on 700 MHz band, advantages and implementations around the world"

 

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Colorado
February 21, 2015 8:45 pm 8:45 PM

Great article Esmail 😀
It brings out the difference between the North American & the Asian method of allocating spectrum. Though in my opinion, 800 MHz is more suited for LTE deployment as it has a more mature ecosystem. Of course that isn’t gonna happen anytime soon in India … *sighs* 🙁

Kishore
February 20, 2015 8:43 pm 8:43 PM

So one question. What will happen to the empty analog TV Channels in the Television sets? Are they going to disappear completely over time ????

Oni Ray
February 20, 2015 10:23 pm 10:23 PM

LOL I’ve wondered about that as well. At one time, 100 channel TV sets were much in demand and some OEMs started putting in 200 for good measure. But yeah, with the STB taking predominance, you might as well have just the one slot.

But somehow, I don’t think they’ll go away any time soon, seeing as it costs barely a few cents to implement it – maybe not even that. So they’ll continue to be a redundant legacy hardware ‘feature’ in out sets for years to come, for our next generation to wonder what are they all about LOL! :-O

JaG
February 20, 2015 8:40 pm 8:40 PM

This might be a naive question, but when 700MHz band, which has better penetration, why did the Govt choose 2300MHz for 4G LTE in 2009 ? Even after 6 years, we are yet to see proper rollout in the 2300MHz frequency. With 700MHz there could have been better 4G coverage, even better than 2G. Was there any specific reason for that decision?

I’m totally illiterate in Mobile technology and please excuse me if I’m worng. Thanks.

Rama
February 20, 2015 11:23 pm 11:23 PM
The government just wanted money and so they sold off vacant spectrum which was the 2300 Mhz band spectrum. They really did not think much about whether the 2300 Mhz band being auctioned during 2010 would be of actual use to operators and if it would actually help the public at the time of auction. They wanted money so they just sold off the spectrum and some operators bought it. The proper time to sell spectrum in 2300 mhz band should have been something like 2020 when there would be a huge demand for capacity and multi band LTE devices… Read more »
Oni Ray
February 20, 2015 10:17 pm 10:17 PM
That is not a dumb question. The only dumb question as they say, is the one you didn’t ask. 🙂 In India, spectrum is as hard a commodity to come by. A lot of it is because of it’s hoarding by one of our Holy Cows – the Military – in the name of national security. But to the best of my understanding from what the report states, much of the 700 Mhz band was/is in use by the cable TV industry, which is why it was unavailable to the telecom industry. Now, with the process of digitization underway, pretty… Read more »
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