GSA confirms 105 commercial LTE networks are launched

351 operators are investing in LTE, a figure which is 41% more than a year ago

October 2, 2012

351 operators are investing in LTE, a figure which is 41% more than a year ago, according to the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) in an update to its Evolution to LTE report which is released today.

The report confirms that 105 operators have launched commercial LTE networks in 48 countries.

A further 194 network deployments are in progress. GSA forecasts that 159 networks will be commercially launched in 68 countries by the end of 2012, which is expected to rise to 195 live networks in 72 countries by the end of the following year.

A total of 299 operators are firmly committed to deploy commercial LTE networks in 93 countries, including those who have launched services. A further 52 operators in 11 more countries are at a pre-commitment stage, engaged in LTE technology trials, tests or studies, etc. Many of them are expected to also decide to introduce LTE services.

Alan Hadden, President of the GSA, said: “LTE is providing unprecedented performance and efficiency levels for operators in both developing and mature markets, and raising the mobile broadband experience for millions of consumers and enterprise users worldwide. Businesses in the sectors beyond traditional telecoms are giving a lot of attention to how LTE can help their customers and operations.“

70 operators have launched commercial LTE services in the past 12 months.

Summary of commercial LTE network launches annually:
2009 = 2
2010 = 15 (year-end cumulative total = 17)
2011 = 30 (year-end cumulative total = 47)
Year to October 1, 2012 = 58 (cumulative total to date = 105)

GSA end 2012 outlook = 159 commercial LTE networks in 68 countries
GSA end 2013 outlook = 195 commercial LTE networks in 72 countries

GSA re-affirms LTE as the fastest developing mobile system technology ever which is entering a new phase as a mainstream technology by end of 2012.

The benefits from deploying LTE networks in re-farmed spectrum are increasingly recognized by regulators and the industry, emphasizing the flexibility and growing importance of 1800 MHz as a prime band for mobile broadband services delivery. LTE1800 (LTE in 1800 MHz spectrum) is launched on more than a third of all commercial LTE networks. Thirty-eight operators have commercially launched LTE1800 either as a single band system, or as part of a multi-band deployment. Commercial LTE1800 services are now available in 26 countries: Angola, Australia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mauritius, Namibia, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, and UAE.

Eleven operators have launched commercial service using the LTE TDD mode in unpaired spectrum, with at least another 16 commercial network deployments in progress. The LTE standard was specified by 3GPP with an FDD mode for use in paired spectrum, and a TDD mode being the optimal solution for use in unpaired spectrum. FDD and TDD modes are fully complementary. TDD shares most of the FDD design and standards and uses a common core network. Some operators have commercially launched LTE service using both FDD and TDD.

The Evolution to LTE report is researched and published by GSA and provides a concise update of the business drivers, objectives and targets for LTE – Long Term Evolution and the evolved packet system, including network operator commitments, deployments, launches, trials, the growing eco-system including device availability, spectrum requirements and developments, Voice over LTE developments, standardization activities including LTE-Advanced, and more. The report is available as a free download to registered site users at www.gsacom.com/gsm_3g/info_papers