Packet One is the main alternative to the local incumbent for mobile broadband in Malaysia and in this interview we with its founding director Pen San Tang we find more about P1’s transition to from WiMAX to LTE and his views on the potential of the TD-LTE eco-system in 2014.
Pen San Tang will be taking part in a panel discussion entitled “Why TD-LTE? Assessing the Key TD-LTE Drivers” at the TD-LTE conference, taking place on the 8-9 April 2014 at the Fairmont Singapore.
Please tell us the latest state-of-play for P1’s LTE deployment
P1 is planning to deploy TD-LTE using 20MHz in the 2.5GHz band and is finalising its financing arrangement for the deployment.
What are the prospects for the TD-LTE eco-system in 2014?
With China Mobile deploying on a very large scale after the release of commercial TD-LTE license and the Softbank acquisition of Sprint/Clearwire, the eco-system is expected to grow very significantly in 2014.
What are your predictions for the key LTE technologies to have an impact in 2014?
The emergence of multi-band, multi-mode devices will very aggressively drive adoption of LTE smartphones and tablets. There will also be many more innovative services and applications in the machine-to-machine market to create the Internet of Things, with cost-effective inter-connection for ubiquitous wireless broadband.
The TD-LTE conference is taking place on the 8-9 April 2014 at the Fairmont Singapore.
You were one of the first to market with WiMAX. How long do you expect the full transition to LTE take?
The full transition of WiMAX to LTE is dependent on the competitive landscape of that particular market space. Consumers want good, reliable broadband services and most market segments are technology agnostic. LTE will bring higher performance and a large eco-system that provides consumers with a much better choice of devices, whilst supporting inter-roaming and fall-back to the well-established 2G/3G networks. Hence, the transition will sooner occur sooner in developed and competitive markets with 2G/3G/4G services and slower in markets that still require simpler wireless broadband services.
Do you feel that having a WiMAX background gives P1 an advantage or disadvantage compared to operators with a legacy 3G network?
I’d say it’s a tie. WiMAX operators will certainly have gained strong experience with TDD-based mobile data network to ensure the network provides good wireless broadband experience, but 3G operators will enjoy big coverage and have strong experience with a full mobile voice network with some data services.
Do you feel there is enough capacity for expected demand in the next few years?
With the expected new devices and applications, mobile data capacity will be stretched to the limit in high demand regions. There will always be regions and specific locations that will run out of capacity due to the very high demand, but there will also be regions that have sufficient capacity that can continue to provide good users experiences.
Why do you believe it is beneficial to have a TD-LTE dedicated event such as the TD-LTE conference?
Unlike FDD spectrum that is being used by most of the major telecom companies, the smaller Greenfield operators own significant amount of TDD spectrum. They face different challenges and require different focus and strategy in commercialising their network. This specific TD-LTE event should highlight this issue and the value of TD-LTE networks using the TDD spectrum as additional capacity and performance to complement FDD networks.