There are now 145 mobile operators who have launched commercial LTE service in 66 countries, according to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), and this number is forecast to reach 234 LTE networks in service by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, the number of LTE subscriptions increased almost 10-fold in the year to September 2012, reaching 44 million.
Some other observations from the GSA's newly published Evolution to LTE report:
The majority of network deployments use FDD and operate in paired spectrum.
- 1800 MHz (3GPP band 3) has emerged as the dominant band for LTE network deployments in virtually all regions of the world.
- 58 operators i.e. 40% of all commercial LTE operators, use 1800 MHz spectrum either as a single band system, or as part of a multi-band deployment, in 39 countries. At least another 22 LTE 1800 network deployments are in progress in the Asia Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
- 130 LTE products, almost 1 in 4, support LTE 1800.
- The second most popular band in which LTE systems are deployed is 2.6 GHz (band 7).
- The TDD mode of the LTE standard has also gained strong traction and interest across the world. A total of 13 operators have launched commercial services using LTE TDD, which is the optimal solution for use in unpaired spectrum.
- The FDD and TDD modes are fully complementary. LTE TDD shares most of the FDD design and standards and uses a common core network, and industry commitment is strong. Some operators have commercially launched LTE service using both FDD and TDD modes.
- Six TDD systems are deployed in band 38 (2.6 GHz), five systems are in band 40 (2.3 GHz) and there is one deployment each in band 41 (2.5 GHz) and bands 42/43 (3.5 GHz). Bands 38 and 40 have the largest ecosystems for LTE TDD user devices.