ZTE has set up the first multi-mode TD-LTE pico base station at Mobile World Congress. The tiny station, which can be set up in high-traffic areas to supplement coverage, works simultaneously with TD-LTE and Wi-Fi and is compatible with larger TD-LTE cells. This means it could be used either to attract wireless customers during LTE deployment or to support excess traffic on an LTE network while still providing a Wi-Fi hotspot.

TD-LTE, a variant of LTE primarily used in China, isn't compatible with FD-LTE handsets like those put out by Verizon and AT&T, but a planned Clearwire expansion may soon bring the technology to the US, and China Mobile has claimed Apple is making an iPhone compatible with the network. While we don't know much about what ZTE plans to do with the stations, or how much they're supposed to boost performance, the company is not the first to introduce supplemental cells at MWC. Yesterday, we noted that Telefonica was using the event to test its own Alcatel-Lucent small-cell network.