The number of TD-LTE subscribers in the world will reach 130 million by the end of this year, driven by rapid growth from China Mobile, Huawei predicted on Wednesday.
Earlier this year there were 36 networks running on the TDD variant of LTE with 11 million subscribers globally, Dennis Zhang, senior marketing director at Huawei, told attendees at CommunicAsia on Wednesday.
The growth will predominantly come from China Mobile, which launched its TD-LTE network in December. The network "covers the main cities already in China," Zhang said. Last week the telco revealed that it has signed up 6.5 million customers, which equates to a rate of more than 1 million per month.
More than 700,000 TD-LTE base stations will ship worldwide this year, up from 320,000 last year, again driven by China Mobile, which will account for 500,000 of the total. There will also be around 1,000 TD-LTE devices on the market at the end of 2014, up from 304 a year earlier.
"This is a huge leap," Zhang said.
Huawei is clearly keen to push the TD-LTE ecosystem.
"TDD and FDD are equal in all perspectives," Zhang said, outlining a number of areas in which TDD outperforms or matches FDD, including throughput, latency and cost.
"LTE TDD can provide the fastest speed," he claimed. Huawei compared FDD LTE running in 5 MHz of paired spectrum with TD-LTE in 10 MHz of unpaired spectrum. The latter's downlink speed came in at 52 Mbps versus 37 Mbps for the FDD variant.
The cost benefit for TD-LTE is in the spectrum, which sells for 20% of the price of FDD on average, he added.
And with China Mobile asking vendors for five-mode devices that support between 13 and 19 frequency bands, "roaming is not a problem," Zhang said.