ZTE says it will have TD-LTE devices by the end of year

A ZTE executive tells Reuters the company plans to sell TD-LTE handsets by year's end to address an expanding market.

Chinese handset maker ZTE plans to build LTE devices with a standard used in China and elsewhere around the world, according to Reuters.

ZTE CEO Shi Lirong during his keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Roger Cheng/CNET

The news service reported today that Japan's Softbank may be among its first customers. ZTE is supposedly talking to Softbank for a potential order of TD-LTE devices.

Long Term Evolution, or LTE, technology is the fourth-generation wireless technology that wireless providers around the world are using to bring faster networks and more capacity to their subscribers. There are two main types of LTE technologies: TD-LTE, or time division LTE; and FDD-LTE, or frequency division duplex LTE.

U.S. wireless operators such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T are adopting FDD-LTE for their 4G networks. But TD-LTE is being used in some deployments in Asia. Namely, China Mobile is using a variant of TD-LTE for its 4G service.

Clearwire, which is building a nationwide wholesale wireless network in the U.S., plans to use TD-LTE for its LTE deployment. The company has deployed a different technology known as WiMax for 4G service.

ZTE has already been selling FDD-LTE handsets to wireless operators throughout the world. But now it looks like it's getting ready to build TD-LTE handsets as well. Scott Wang, vice president of ZTE, told Reuters in an interview in Shanghai that the TD-LTE handsets will be available by the end of the year.

Expanding its portfolio to handle a different version of LTE will help the company better compete globally against handset heavyweights Samsung and Nokia.