China Only Seems To Use High Frequency Bands For LTE So Far

When recently contemplating about the use of frequency bands for LTE in different parts of the world I realized that there have been different approaches: In the US, network operators opted for deploying LTE in the 700 MHz area and have only recently started to use higher bands such as the 1700/2100 MHz band for LTE services. In Europe most carriers started with the 1800/2600 MHz band but quickly also opted for the 800 MHz band to push nation wide coverage. When I was in China recently, I noticed that I could only trace deployments in the 1900+ MHz range (e.g. TDD bands 39-41 as described on Wikipedia) but nothing below that. In retrospect, I find it quite surprising that they haven't started their rollout on lower frequencies to get a large footprint in their not so small country.

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  1. That may be due to slower release of sub 1GHz frequency bands to operators and the national push to develop TDD technologies. The US was early in making wideband spectrum available in the low band frequencies and Verizon seized on that to make an early push for availability of equipment and handsets with AT&T soon following.

    Strategically, their approach was to use the 700MHz as a ‘beachfront property’, or as a beachfront to a war to gain a competitive advantage in coverage and quality. An observation of Verizon and AT&T’s position with respect to coverage and bandwidth-to-coverage and quality shows that to have paid off. Verizon and AT&T have managed to increase marketshare to about 70% of the US consumer market and gain what is probably an insurmountable lead in MtM/IoT and vertical markets. Verizon and AT&T, for example, have become dominant in 3G-LTE automobile services where coverage is an important feature.

    This should start to change over the next 2-3 years imo.

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