Asia leads in unique band plan
What are its implications?
"So they will be able to now have a new LTE network in 700 MHz band," Bhatia says. "Using the APT 700, this is the plan that was developed by the APT. It has a very unique band plan. For the first time, Asia has taken the lead in developing this band plan. So with the APT development of 700 band which is now adopted in the four countries, Australia has already adopted it and started (on it) and Japan has already adopted, and so has Korea.
"So with this kind of band plan now, it is possible that we will have it Asia-wide new plan for LTE, roaming and everything. So the new phones that you will have for the next generation maybe from 2015 onwards, will use this plan. So this is one of the major achievements in the APT and Asia that we have given to the world. Almost the whole of the world is trying to follow this band plan. In fact there is a debate within Europe whether they can adopt this band plan.
Is this band for commercial as well as public safety use?
"It's a commercial band and within it we will take and allocate some spectrum for public safety," he says. "So that debate is also there, whether to take from here or there is another band called 800 MHz band. So the option is between 700 and 800. The US which is the only one that has done that is in 700 but their 700 is different from our 700. This is APT 700. 800 is another band which is almost similar to 700, already used in most countries here in Asia and the US. There is also a plan to put the public safety broadband in some part of that band. So it is a choice between 700 and 800. There are different arguments for 700 or for 800 and this basically gives you some benefits of both but either of them are good for most Asian countries. For example China has a different planning altogether. They focused on 1.4 GHz but most Asian countries will agree for this.
"US has already allocated the frequencies and already started to work on that. Singapore is also working on it and most countries have already started working but it's still not implemented and deployed as such. It will still take time because the Singapore government IDA has to announce the spectrum first and then the system will get deployed. Nothing will happen this year; everything will happen next year and maybe 2015."
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