A total of 213 operators have commercially launched LTE services in 81 countries, an increase of 113 networks in the past 12 months, according to Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), which now forecasts there will be 260 commercial LTE networks in 93 countries by end 2013.
Some highlights from GSA's new report:
- 456 operators are investing in LTE in 134 countries. This is made up of 406 firm operator commitments to build LTE networks, 213 have commercially launched networks in 81 countries plus 50 additional operators engaged in various trials, studies, etc.
- 1,064 LTE user devices have been announced by 111 manufacturers, representing around 150% annual growth.
- The majority of LTE operators have deployed the FDD mode of the standard.
- The most widely used band in network deployments continues to be 1800 MHz (band 3) which is used in 43% of commercially launched LTE networks. The next most popular contiguous bands are 2.6 GHz (band 7) used in over 31% of networks, followed by 800 MHz band 20 (over 11%).
- 21 LTE TDD systems are commercially launched (within the total LTE launch count of 213) and 10 of them have been deployed within combined LTE FDD and TDD networks, which is a growing trend.
- GSA reported last month that 222 user devices support the TDD mode.
- There are almost 30 operators who have launched, or are planning enhancements to their networks including support for Category 4, multicarrier operation, and LTE-Advanced features such as carrier aggregation.
Alan Hadden, President of the GSA, stated: For the first time operators are reporting that they are selling more smartphones than any other device type. Our research confirmed that smartphones are the largest device category for LTE users. Operators need to invest to keep delivering the best mobile broadband experience, and compete.