We’re experiencing exceptional demand for mobile data. Over the past year, the amount of data carried over our networks globally grew by approximately 78% as customers increasingly use their mobile devices to watch videos, stream music and browse the web.
Customers are also looking for speed: we now have 24.1 million 4G customers who on average use two to three times more data than they did on 3G.
This demand for data and speed means that we need to increase capacity across our networks. To help us achieve this, we’ve been working with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies to test FDD/TDD carrier aggregation.
Frequency-division duplexing (FDD) and time-division duplexing (TDD) are two ways in which 4G mobile phones and tablets communicate with the network. Until recently, they could only do this by using TDD or FDD, but not both at the same time.
FDD/TDD carrier aggregation allows mobile devices to connect to the network using FDD and TDD simultaneously. Adding TDD to our existing FDD network will enable us to use spectrum more efficiently and increase the capacity of our network to carry more data.
In a trial with Vodafone Portugal, which was the first time the technology had been deployed in a commercial network in Europe, we achieved download speeds of over 210 Mbps by aggregating 15MHZ (FDD 1800) and 20MHz (TDD2600) using a testing handset from Qualcomm Technologies, which featured a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 810 processor with X10 LTE.
While these speeds were achieved in a test environment, the trial demonstrates how carrier aggregation can help us achieve download speeds typically associated with super-fast fixed broadband using our mobile network.
As more smartphones and tablets compatible with carrier aggregation launch over the coming year, the technology will help us deliver the very best 4G service to our customers across our networks.
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