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UMTS-TDD, an acronym for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) - time-division duplexing (TDD), is a 3GPP standardized version of UMTS networks that use UTRA-TDD.[1] UTRA-TDD is a UTRA that uses time-division duplexing for duplexing.[1] While a full implementation of UMTS, it is mainly used to provide Internet access in circumstances similar to those where WiMAX might be used.[citation needed] UMTS-TDD is not directly compatible with UMTS-FDD: a device designed to use one standard cannot, unless specifically designed to, work on the other, because of the difference in air interface technologies and frequencies used.[citation needed]


UTRA-TDD HCR is one of the air interfaces used for UMTS-TDD. It uses increments of 5 MHz of spectrum, with each slice divided into 10 ms frames containing fifteen time slots (1500 per second). The time slots are allocated in fixed percentage for downlink and uplink. TD-CDMA is used to multiplex streams from or to multiple transceivers.[2]


UTRA-TDD LCR is an alternative air interface used for UMTS-TDD. It is based on TD-SCDMA, and uses 1.6 MHz slices of spectrum, and is standardized in UMTS by the 3GPP.

Unlicensed UMTS-TDD[edit]

In Europe, CEPT allocated the 2010-2020 MHz range for a variant of UMTS-TDD designed for unlicensed, self-provided use.[3] Some telecom groups and jurisdictions have proposed withdrawing this service in favour of licensed UMTS-TDD,[4] due to lack of demand, and lack of development of a UMTS TDD air interface technology suitable for deployment in this band.

Comparison with UMTS-FDD[edit]

Ordinary UMTS uses UTRA-FDD as an air interface and is known as UMTS-FDD. UMTS-FDD uses W-CDMA for multiple access and frequency division for duplexing, meaning that the up-link and down-link transmit on different frequencies. UMTS is usually transmitted on frequencies assigned for 1G, 2G, or 3G mobile telephone service in the countries of operation.

UMTS-TDD uses time division duplexing, allowing the up-link and down-link to share the same spectrum. This allows the operator to more flexibly divide the usage of available spectrum according to traffic patterns. For ordinary phone service, you would expect the up-link and down-link to carry approximately equal amounts of data (because every phone call needs a voice transmission in either direction), but Internet-oriented traffic is more frequently one-way. For example, when browsing a website, the user will send commands, which are short, to the server, but the server will send whole files, that are generally larger than those commands, in response.

UMTS-TDD tends to be allocated frequency intended for mobile/wireless Internet services rather than used on existing cellular frequencies. This is, in part, because TDD duplexing is not normally allowed on cellular, PCS/PCN, and 3G frequencies. TDD technologies open up the usage of left-over unpaired spectrum.

Europe-wide, several bands are provided either specifically for UMTS-TDD or for similar technologies. These are 1900 MHz and 1920 MHz and between 2010 MHz and 2025 MHz. In several countries the 2500-2690 MHz band (also known as MMDS in the USA) have been used for UMTS-TDD deployments. Additionally, spectrum around the 3.5 GHz range has been allocated in some countries, notably Britain, in a technology-neutral environment. In the Czech Republic UTMS-TDD is also used in a frequency range around 872 MHz.[5]


UMTS-TDD has been deployed for public and/or private networks in at least nineteen countries around the world, with live systems in, amongst other countries, Australia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and the USA.

Deployments in the US thus far have been limited. It has been selected for a public safety support network used by emergency responders in New York,[6] but outside of some experimental systems, notably one from Nextel, thus far the WiMAX standard appears to have gained greater traction as a general mobile Internet access system.

Competing Standards[edit]

A variety of Internet-access systems exist which provide broadband speed access to the net. These include WiMAX and HIPERMAN. UMTS-TDD has the advantages of being able to use an operator's existing UMTS/GSM infrastructure, should it have one, and that it includes UMTS modes optimized for circuit switching should, for example, the operator want to offer telephone service. UMTS-TDD's performance is also more consistent. However, UMTS-TDD deployers often have regulatory problems with taking advantage of some of the services UMTS compatibility provides. For example, UMTS-TDD spectrum in the UK cannot be used to provide telephone service, though the regulator OFCOM is discussing the possibility of allowing it at some point in the future. Few operators considering UMTS-TDD have existing UMTS/GSM infrastructure.

Additionally, the WiMAX and HIPERMAN systems provide significantly larger bandwidths when the mobile station is in close proximity to the tower.

Like most mobile Internet access systems, many users who might otherwise choose UMTS-TDD will find their needs covered by the ad hoc collection of unconnected Wifi access points at many restaurants and transportation hubs, and/or by Internet access already provided by their mobile phone operator. By comparison, UMTS-TDD (and systems like WiMAX) offers mobile, and more consistent, access than the former, and generally faster access than the latter.

Comparison of mobile Internet access methods
Family Primary Use Radio Tech Downstream
HSPA+ is widely deployed. Revision 11 of the 3GPP states that HSPA+ is expected to have a throughput capacity of 672 Mbit/s.
150 Cat4
300 Cat5
(in 20 MHz FDD) [7]
50 Cat3/4
75 Cat5
(in 20 MHz FDD)[7]
LTE-Advanced update expected to offer peak rates up to 1 Gbit/s fixed speeds and 100 Mb/s to mobile users.
WiMax rel 1 802.16 WirelessMAN MIMO-SOFDMA 37 (10 MHz TDD) 17 (10 MHz TDD) With 2x2 MIMO.[8]
WiMax rel 1.5 802.16-2009 WirelessMAN MIMO-SOFDMA 83 (20 MHz TDD)
141 (2x20 MHz FDD)
46 (20 MHz TDD)
138 (2x20 MHz FDD)
With 2x2 MIMO.Enhanced with 20 MHz channels in 802.16-2009[8]
WiMAX rel 2 802.16m WirelessMAN MIMO-SOFDMA 2x2 MIMO
110 (20 MHz TDD)
183 (2x20 MHz FDD)
4x4 MIMO
219 (20 MHz TDD)
365 (2x20 MHz FDD)
2x2 MIMO
70 (20 MHz TDD)
188 (2x20 MHz FDD)
4x4 MIMO
140 (20 MHz TDD)
376 (2x20 MHz FDD)
Also, low mobility users can aggregate multiple channels to get a download throughput of up to 1 Gbit/s[8]
Flash-OFDM Flash-OFDM Mobile Internet
mobility up to 200 mph (350 km/h)
Flash-OFDM 5.3
Mobile range 30 km (18 miles)
extended range 55 km (34 miles)
Wi-Fi 802.11
Mobile Internet OFDM/MIMO 288.8 (using 4x4 configuration in 20 MHz bandwidth) or 600 (using 4x4 configuration in 40 MHz bandwidth)

Antenna, RF front end enhancements and minor protocol timer tweaks have helped deploy long range P2P networks compromising on radial coverage, throughput and/or spectra efficiency (310 km & 382 km)

iBurst 802.20 Mobile Internet HC-SDMA/TDD/MIMO 95 36 Cell Radius: 3–12 km
Speed: 250 km/h
Spectral Efficiency: 13 bits/s/Hz/cell
Spectrum Reuse Factor: "1"
EDGE Evolution GSM Mobile Internet TDMA/FDD 1.6 0.5 3GPP Release 7

HSDPA is widely deployed. Typical downlink rates today 2 Mbit/s, ~200 kbit/s uplink; HSPA+ downlink up to 56 Mbit/s.
UMTS-TDD UMTS/3GSM Mobile Internet CDMA/TDD 16 Reported speeds according to IPWireless using 16QAM modulation similar to HSDPA+HSUPA
EV-DO Rel. 0
CDMA2000 Mobile Internet CDMA/FDD 2.45
Rev B note: N is the number of 1.25 MHz carriers used. EV-DO is not designed for voice, and requires a fallback to 1xRTT when a voice call is placed or received.

Notes: All speeds are theoretical maximums and will vary by a number of factors, including the use of external antennas, distance from the tower and the ground speed (e.g. communications on a train may be poorer than when standing still). Usually the bandwidth is shared between several terminals. The performance of each technology is determined by a number of constraints, including the spectral efficiency of the technology, the cell sizes used, and the amount of spectrum available. For more information, see Comparison of wireless data standards.

For more comparison tables, see bit rate progress trends, comparison of mobile phone standards, spectral efficiency comparison table and OFDM system comparison table.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 3GPP (1999-06-28 to present). "TS 25.201". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  2. ^ "UMTS World TD-CDMA information". Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  3. ^ "ERC/DEC/(99)25 EU Recommendation on UMTS TDD". Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  4. ^ "Award_of_available_spectrum:_2500-2690_MHz,_2010-2025_MHz_and_2290-2300_MHz". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  5. ^ "4G modem". Retrieved 2009-04-29. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Northrop Grumman Wins $500 Million New York City Broadband Mobile Wireless Contract". Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  7. ^ a b "LTE". 3GPP web site. 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "WiMAX and the IEEE 802.16m Air Interface Standard". WiMax Forum. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 2012-02-07.