Chinese infrastructure vendor and handset maker Huawei has just achieved an impressive world first. Their new USB modem, dubbed the E392, is capable of connecting to both versions of LTE, FDD and TDD, as well as being able to support both GSM and CDMA networks. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but it’s going to be available starting in Q3 of this year. Now as for who uses FDD LTE and who uses TDD LTE, the former is being deployed by most operators around the world since they own what’s known as paired spectrum, meaning that they have a dedicated channel for both the downstream and upstream bandwidth. With TDD there’s a single channel that alternates between downstream and upstream at a ridiculously fast rate. The largest supported of TDD LTE is China Mobile, the world’s largest operator, who as of March 2011 has over 600,000 subscribers. That’s nearly two connected devices for every man, woman, and child in America. The other notable supporter of TDD LTE is Clearwire, pending their ability to get additional funding.
Is one version of LTE better than the other? Not really. There are simply two versions because some countries have auctioned off spectrum in such a manner where FDD LTE isn’t technically possibly to deploy. We’re curious to see if TDD LTE starts taking off in more parts of the world, and more importantly wind up in mobile phones. If Huawei can make a USB modem that can handle both LTE variants, then it shouldn’t be that difficult to foresee smartphones coming out that can do the same thing.
Back to the E392, we can’t wait for someone to take it apart and figure out who makes the silicon. If it really is Huawei’s own stuff, then folks like Qualcomm should be running scared. The Chinese are catching up!
[Image via Mobile-Surfstick.de]