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Jan 09 2017

Smartfren leaps into TDD-FDD LTE to meet smartphone explosion

Twitter: @akdayama

Put yourself in this position. You’re a mobile operator in 2014 facing a doubling in the number of smartphone customers within the next four years – from around 50 million to 100 million. How do you build the capacity to cope, especially considering most subscribers are currently on your existing CDMA network built in 2009, and you don’t have any 3G technologies deployed yet.

This was the situation facing Smartfren of Indonesia, a country which was among the top ten in the world for growth in mobile Internet use. From 2015 to 2018, the proportion of the country using 4G LTE is expected to balloon from 2% to 14%.

Smartfren’s decision was a bold one – it would leapfrog 3G, going straight to 4G in a single bound. The question was, did the technology exist to allow this radical transformation?

That crucial year of 2014 provided the answers. Coincidentally, Nokia demonstrated an industry first by using carrier aggregation to combine TDD and FDD frequencies. A few months later, it went one better and pulled off the same feat using a commercial chipset. The way was clear. Smartfren pursued the TDD-FDD LTE strategy even though the smartphones at that time did not support TDD-FDD carrier aggregation for its bands.

The network that emerged uses a combination of TDD and FDD to deliver a best in class LTE-A service. The operator’s CDMA spectrum of 850 MHz is being reused for FDD. This was not enough to serve the capacity demand on its own, so TD-LTE at 2300 MHz was added to meet this need. Nokia’s carrier aggregation technology combined them.

The result was a network offering the most reliable, most widely available LTE service in Indonesia, delivered through 15,000 base stations as of 2016.

For details on how Smartfren worked with Nokia to achieve this, be sure to sign up for our on-demand webinar. You’ll hear about the market challenges facing Smartfren, how it implemented its TDD-FDD convergence initiative and its impact on subscribers.

The webinar covers the following topics:

  • Indonesia’s fast-growing market
  • A strategy to leapfrog directly to 4G LTE
  • TDD-FDD convergence aims and execution
  • Strategy results

You can register for this webinar here.

If you are looking for effective ways to meet fast-growing mobile broadband, and with a particular interest in technology convergence, please join in and bring your questions.

We have more to share on our TD LTE page and feel free to download our handy factsheet.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #4G #LTE #TDLTE #SmartFren

About Ashish K. Dayama

As senior marketing manager, Ashish is responsible for Nokia’s global CBRS, MulteFire, TD-LTE and LTE product marketing, strategy, and content development. Prior to joining Nokia, he held several management positions at Motorola and Alcatel-Lucent. He holds an MBA from University of Chicago, MS in Computer Science from WIU and a Bachelor’s in Electrical from Karnataka University.