LTE network plans: Asia Pacific and Oceania

Telstra has been trialing LTE from May 2010, comprizing not only urban, but also rural evaluations and extensive laboratory trials. At MWC 2011, Barcelona, Telstra announced plans to upgrade its Next G™ network with LTE technology in the central business districts of all Australian capital cities and selected regional centers by end of 2011. The upgrade will use Telstra‟s existing 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver LTE to areas where traffic demand is most concentrated.

James Middleton

June 16, 2011

10 Min Read
The low penetration in Asia-Pacific is due to its broad, diverse and fragmented make-up
NSN has announced two deals in the Asia-Pacific region


Telstra has been trialing LTE from May 2010, comprizing not only urban, but also rural evaluations and extensive laboratory trials. At MWC 2011, Barcelona, Telstra announced plans to upgrade its Next G™ network with LTE technology in the central business districts of all Australian capital cities and selected regional centers by end of 2011. The upgrade will use Telstra‟s existing 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver LTE to areas where traffic demand is most concentrated. It will be integrated with Telstra‟s existing HSPA+ service, which operates in the 850MHz band. By end 2011 Telstra plans to offer dual mode LTE/HSPA+ mobile broadband devices for seamless operation across 1800 MHz and 850 MHz bands.

Optus announced in July 2010 a successful demonstration of LTE in 10 MHz of 2100 MHz spectrum in metropolitan Sydney. During extensive field testing, using pre-commercial USB dongles, peak download speeds exceeding 50 Mbps and upload speeds of 20 Mbps were achieved. A second phase of testing, utilizing 1800 MHz is underway.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has confirmed results of its LTE1800 trial conducted in Q4 2010 in Newcastle, NSW with 10 MHz of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band. Downlink speeds up to 74.3 Mbps were achieved under test conditions. Upgrading of the network (around 5,800 existing 2G and 3G base station sites) is underway. The first LTE services are expected to be launched during 2011.

In June 2010 the Australian Government confirmed it would release 126 MHz of digital dividend spectrum (694 – 820 MHz) due to be cleared by end 2013.

EnergyAustralia will conduct trials at 15 sites of an LTE platform, commencing in 2011, with the intent to migrate to a full LTE network. EnergyAustralia was chosen by the Government to lead the Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration project to test Australia‟s first fully integrated, commercial-scale smart grid.

WiMAX™ operator Vivid Wireless trialled LTE TDD in Sydney for 2 months from December 2010 in high demand, high density, inner city conditions. Commercial network launch is expected by 2012.


China Mobile is building its TD-SCDMA network so that sites and other elements are reusable for LTE TDD. A large-scale trial LTE TDD network at the 2010 World Expo, Shanghai, realized a peak downlink rate over 80 Mbps in 20 MHz carrying uplink and downlink traffic. The first high-definition LTE TDD video call including handover was demonstrated at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) test lab in Beijing. China Mobile has now launched large-scale LTE TDD trials consisting of more than 1,000 base stations in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Xiamen. Commercial services are expected to launch in 2012 China Telecom plans to launch LTE service, expected in 2012, which will be integrated with CDMA systems in 17 provinces.

Specific intentions or plans for LTE at China Unicom are not known at this time.

In Hong Kong SAR, 2 x 15 MHz blocks of 2.6 GHz spectrum were obtained via auction each by China Mobile (Peoples Phone), Genius Brand (Hutchison Telecom/PCCW JV) and CSL Limited.

Back to the Evolution to LTE report and more regions

CSL Limited has completed its LTE/DC-HSPA+ network, which is confirmed as ready for commercial service, with DC-HSPA+ over the entire territory (100% of sites) and LTE all over the territory in the busiest sites. The strategy is for dual mode LTE/DC-HSPA+ devices (initially ZTE AL621 dongles) to be used. On November 25, 2010 CSL commercially launched the LTE/DC-HSPA+ network for corporate services, and confirmed plans to offer commercial service to consumers in 2011. The LTE network uses 2.6 GHz spectrum. Some 1800 MHz sites are equipped for LTE and used for testing; more 1800 MHz sites will be converted in 2011 as availability of LTE1800 user devices improves.

Hutchison Telecom completed testing and trials in mid-2010. LTE is to be launched “in the near future”.

PCCW is deploying LTE for commercial launch 2011. SmarTone-Vodafone will deploy LTE in re-farmed 1800 MHz spectrum.


The 2.3 GHz BWA auction began with 11 companies bidding for 2 blocks in each of the 22 circles. The government had earlier allocated one 20 MHz unpaired spectrum block each to MTNL and BSNL.

Tikona Digital won spectrum in 5 circles. Qualcomm and Bharti Airtel won 4 circles each.

Qualcomm gained spectrum in the key circles of Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala and announced Global Holding Corporation and Tulip Telecom as initial shareholders for its LTE venture for network deployment. On October 19, 2010 Nokia Siemens Networks announced the successful demonstration in India of a video call over LTE TDD on commercial hardware. The call was made by Gurdeep Singh, CEO of Aircel, who won BWA spectrum in 8 circles. On November 30, 2010 Reliance Industries with Ericsson India showcased results from their field trial of LTE TDD.

Infotel Broadband was the only pan-India winner (since acquired by Reliance Industries Ltd – RIL). RIL has committed to LTE TDD and is expected to commercially launch LTE TDD in some cities in 2011. Tikona Digital has also committed to deploy LTE TDD. Bharti Airtel is committed to LTE TDD and has joined the Global TD-LTE Initiative.


Telkomsel, XL Axiata, and Indosat have been trialling LTE technology and propose to deploy LTE networks should spectrum become available in 2013.


LTE operators use 1.5 GHz (NTT DoCoMo and Softbank Mobile), 1.5 GHz + 800 MHz (KDDI), and 1.7 GHz (eMobile).

NTT DoCoMo launched Japan‟s first commercial LTE system on December 24, 2010 under the “Xi™” brand. The company said that voice calls using Xi will become possible sometime within the fiscal year starting in April 2011, when DoCoMo will begin launching LTE-compatible mobile phones. Xi service is initially available in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka areas; other major cities and regions will follow. DoCoMo plans to spend over $3.6 billion on network build-out by March 2013, with 15,000 base stations serving 40% of the population, 70% coverage is planned by March 2015. DoCoMo expects 25% of its 3G user base to migrate to LTE by March 2015.

KDDI is committed to deploying LTE and will continue to operate its CDMA network for voice traffic. KDDI has 20 MHz of spectrum for LTE and is working on technical interoperability issues to ensure the network can fall back to CDMA2000 1x for incoming voice calls during a data session held over LTE. KDDI plans to launch commercially LTE by December 2012 and is targeting mobile broadband coverage to 96.5% of the country by March 2015. A trial was conducted in the Nasu-Shiobara area (Tochigi Prefecture) between March – August, 2010. A second field trial commenced in October 2010 in an urban environment, using 1.5 MHz spectrum.

eMobile plans to launch LTE following its launch of a DC-HSPA+ network.

Softbank is a member of the Global TD-LTE Initiative


Maxis is trialing LTE in the Klang Valley. In July 2010 peak download speeds of 60-104 Mbps were demonstrated, using 10 MHz and 20 MHz channels. Celcom has commenced LTE technical trials. DiGi plans to launch LTE in 2.6 GHz by 2013. U Mobile announced on March 15, 2011 plans to deploy and launch a commercial LTE network “soon”.

WiMAX™ operator Asiaspace is exploring deployment in the near future of LTE TDD in 2.3 GHz. There are press reports of a possible collaboration being agreed between Maxis and Asiaspace for deployment of an LTE network.

WiMAX operator Packet One Networks (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd has announced plans to conduct an LTE TDD trial by end 2011, with a view to launching commercial services shortly after. Regulatory approval is awaited. P1 intends to upgrade its existing WiMAX network with an LTE TDD overlay.

The regulator MCMC plans to allocate blocks of 2.6 GHz for LTE, and is consulting on re-farming 850/900/1800 MHz spectrum. According to press reports, Packet One Networks (P1) and REDtone are amongst the operators who have said they will receive frequencies in the 2.6 GHz band, and are in the process of submitting business plans regarding their proposed use of the spectrum. Further spectrum allocations to more operators are understood to be in process. A number of parties have also enquired about 700 MHz, and MCMC is considering this issue.


Ncell has approached the Nepal Telecom Authority for spectrum and a license for LTE operation. Shareholder TeliaSonera is keen to proceed if permission/spectrum are granted, for launch in 2012


Telecom New Zealand is committed to LTE.

Vodafone New Zealand is also commited to LTE.

The Commerce Commission is open to discuss LTE infrastructure sharing. New spectrum for LTE is not expected to become available before 2013. Analog TV will be switched off by late 2013.


Smart Communications announced on April 16, 2011 opening of commercial LTE service in Boracay and confirmed plans to rollout in other areas.

Globe Telecom has conducted LTE trials and plans to deploy a commercial LTE network in 2012. Piltel is understood to be seeking the remaining 3G license in the country to deploy LTE services.


StarHub has ended LTE testing in 2.6 GHz and plans to trial LTE in 1800 MHz. M1 completed a 100 Mbps data call on its trial LTE network and plans commercial deployment. SingTel is trialing LTE in Singapore, and overseas with carriers in which it holds stakes i.e. SingTel Optus (Australia), Telkomsel (Indonesia), Globe Telecom (Philippines).


SK Telecom says commercial LTE service will open in Seoul in July 2011, and will roll out nationwide across 83 cities by 2013. An upgrade to LTE-Advanced is anticipated to start at that time.

KT plans to invest in LTE in 2011.

LG Uplus (formerly LG Telecom) has brought forward by one year its expected nationwide LTE coverage to mid-2012.


Dialog Mobile announced live LTE trials from May 5, 2011 in Colombo Fort and the Colombo 2, 3, 4 and Narahenpita areas of the city.

Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel announced on May 6, 2011 the company had carried out a successful trial of LTE achieving downlink speeds up to 96 Mbps, using 2.6 GHz spectrum. More trials are planned in other bands for commercial deployment.

Etisalat‟s DC-HSPA+ network is described by the company as “LTE ready”.


Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) is firmly committed to LTE. CHT has been trialling LTE using 2.6 GHz and 700 MHz spectrum over several months. Commercial network deployment is expected to start from 2012 depending on spectrum availability. CHT has also completed LTE tests on the high-speed rail system in TDD and FDD modes in 2.6 GHz band.

The National Chiao Tung University conducted a trial of LTE TDD in 2010. FarEasTone and China Mobile are co-operating on an LTE TDD trial network in Taipei. WiMAX operator Global Mobile has announced plans to switch to LTE and will apply to the government for approval to amend its license when WiMAX coverage reaches 70%, expected this year.


AIS subsidiary Digital Phone Company (DPC) has asked its build-transfer-operate concession issuer CAT Telecom for permission to test LTE, according to media reports. DPC holds 1800 MHz spectrum and reportedly will reserve up to 10MHz for the trial from its 12.5 MHz allocation. The test will run for 90 days on 7-8 base stations in Bangkok.


Regulator MIC has authorized trials by VNPT, CMC, Viettel, FPT Telecom and VTC. Trial networks have been established in Hanoi by FPT Telecom, Viettel and VDC (a member of VNPT).



Back To The Evolution To Lte Report And More Regions

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of | Follow him @telecomsjames

Get the latest news straight to your inbox.
Register for the newsletter here.

You May Also Like