Vodafone claimed it will be the first operator to take advantage of LTE FDD/TDD network convergence and carrier aggregation after deploying the technology in its Portuguese network.
The solution, which will allow the operator to combine the best characteristics of LTE FDD (frequency division duplexing) and TDD (time division duplexing) modes, has been implemented using technology from Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies.
The current deployment for the trial in Portugal uses 15 MHz of band 3 (FDD 1800) and 20 MHz of band 38 (TDD 2600). The tests are supported by the Qualcomm Snapdragon(TM) 810 processor with X10 LTE running in a device.
Adding TDD to the already installed FDD network significantly enhances the total downlink data capacity and improves subscribers' mobile broadband experience. In addition, FDD/TDD carrier aggregation extends the app coverage of the TDD layer by up to 230%.
Greater capacity and coverage will be needed in the short term as mobile traffic demand is expected to grow nine times by 2020, according to Ericsson Mobility Report projections (June, 2015). With wider device support expected later this year, implementing converged carrier aggregation technology in live networks now means the operator will be able to hit the ground running when handsets are available.
Using only a software update to Ericsson baseband hardware already operating in the network, Ericsson's Networks Software 15B release enables simultaneous operation of LTE FDD and TDD.
Per Narvinger, Head of LTE, Ericsson, said: "Combining TDD with low-band FDD spectrum will improve the high-band TDD coverage area, and the TDD spectrum will significantly improve the overall downlink throughput. With global availability of TDD spectrum, we regard FDD/TDD carrier aggregation as a key technology to further improve user experience for customers worldwide."
Enrico Salvatori, SVP and President of Qualcomm Europe, added: "The Snapdragon 810 processor with X10 LTE builds upon our leadership in LTE-Advanced technology by supporting carrier aggregation across LTE TDD and LTE FDD."
Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies said they were the first to achieve FDD/TDD carrier aggregation on commercial hardware and software in live demos last year.