Saturday, June 9, 2012

GSA: 80 LTE Networks Launched, Subscriber Growth Accelerates

There are now 80 LTE networks in commercial operation, according to the GSA, and this figure is expected to grow by another 64 operators before the end of the year. The GSA counts 267 operators with firm commercial plans, trials underway or live LTE networks in operation. LTE is entering a new phase as a mainstream technology in 2012, giving it the fastest adoption cycle among mobile technology, according to the GSA.

Alan Hadden, President of the GSA, said: “The number of commercial LTE networks has quadrupled in just over a year. Commercial LTE services are available in 38 countries. The pace of introduction of LTE is happening faster than most people predicted a year ago.�?

Some highlights from the report:

  • As of the end of Q1, there were 17 million LTE subscriptions -- an addition of 7.4 million in Q1 alone.
    64% of LTE subscriptions are in North America. APAC is also growing quickly, while Europe is far behind.
    Initial network launches are mainly LTE-FDD. The most common frequencies used for LTE are: 700 MHz: band 13, band 17 800 MHz: band 20 1800 MHz: band 3 2600 MHz: band 7.

  • 7 commercial LTE TDD networks have been launched: Sky Brazil, Bharti Airtel, Softbank, Aero2, Mobily, STC, and 3 Sweden. (some dual LTE-FDD and LTE-TDD)

  • Providing initial widespread coverage with LTE in the 1800 MHz band can be as much as 60% cheaper than covering the same area with LTE using higher frequency bands.

  • Regulators need to accelerate efforts to enable refarming of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band in order to realise the benefits of LTE 1800MHz.

  • The report was presented at last week's LTE Forum 2012 – Istanbul, 5-6 June, 2012.

The report as well as additional LTE resources are on the GSA website.

See also