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Dish and Sprint to Begin Fixed TD-LTE Tests in Rural Areas Soon

August 9, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

Long Term Evolution, or as it’s better known as LTE, is the standard in wireless spectrum that the industry has been moving to for a few years now.  What many don’t know is that there are a few different types of LTE, namely LTE-FDD and TD-LTE.  LTE-FDD is the most widely used form of LTE which consists of two carrier frequencies; an uplink and a downlink, both of which can occur simultaneously.  TD-LTE only consists of one of these at a time, theoretically meaning that TD-LTE is the slower of the two types of LTE.  This also means that TD-LTE is cheaper to deploy since its radios aren’t as complex, and the systems behind them don’t have to drive the same signal structure as LTE-FDD does.

We saw just back in May that Dish was looking to partner with nTelos to bring wireless broadband to rural areas that don’t currently have LTE networks or plans to build out into those areas any time soon.  Now it looks like Dish is partnering with Sprint on the same subject matter, and it’s going about it via personal TD-LTE antennas for each customer.  Essentially Dish and Sprint will be providing customers with ruggedized outdoor modems that include high-gain antennas to pick up the 2.5GHz LTE spectrum that Sprint holds, as well as a number of other spectrums they hold in various parts of the US.  Right now Dish controls a good deal of wireless spectrum that’s not being used for LTE signals and are hoping they can successfully test this new TD-LTE network using these spectrums.

This is a great deal for rural customers that otherwise might not see a fast LTE network for some time, or may not have access to anything much better than the slow speeds that dial-up and traditional satellite internet connections bring.  These tests are scheduled to start within a month.