FD-LTE to cover 57% population against TD-LTE’s 52% by 2018

Telecom Lead India: TD-LTE, the technology used by China Mobile, Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm for 4G, will reach 52 percent of population coverage by 2018.

On the other hand, FD-LTE, the technology used by several global mobile operators including Verizon, AT&T, etc. will cover 57 percent population during the same period.

ABI Research says FDD networks will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33 percent between 2012 and 2018 TDD networks will gain ground at a more rapid rate of 43 percent during this period but will only reach 52 percent population coverage due to fewer licensed markets currently.

Slightly more than half of the contracts concluded are related to LTE-FDD.

“However, LTE-TDD will start to close the gap,” said Ying Kang Tan, research associate at ABI Research.

Dual-mode device chipsets supporting both variants as well as converged FDD/TDD network solutions are already available. It’s only a matter of time before the need for more spectrum pushes an increasing number of operators to embrace both simultaneously.

Concerning spectrum, about three-quarters of recent and upcoming auctions grant the rights to deploy 4G networks. Of these, 29 percent involve 2,600 MHz, 25 percent 800 MHz, and 22 percent 1,800 MHz, making these three bands the most popular.

Currently, 1,800 MHz is the most widely used frequency band for LTE. The rising popularity of 800 MHz, especially in Europe, will help operators save cost when fulfilling the aggressive roll-out obligation set by regulators worldwide, which is a key reason for the rapid increase in population coverage.

In an April 10, 2013 note, Infonetic said that LTE in China to grow at a 38 percent CAGR from 2012 to 2017. In fact, The mobile infrastructure (2G, 3G, 4G) market in China fell 4 percent year-over-year in 2012, dragged down by GSM, W-CDMA, and CDMA2000.

Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research, said: “2012 was the LTE year in Japan following a year marked by 3G reconstruction efforts after the earthquake and tsunami.”

LTE revenue in Japan soared 188 percent and will keep its momentum this year, driven by accelerated rollouts and the increasing willingness of service providers to shut down 3G.

Infonetics also said the LTE market will almost double in 2013, easily passing the $10-billion mark for the first time. Operators are in the midst of a second wave of LTE deployments, and LTE-Advanced is gearing for true 4G prime time, with NTT DOCOMO, SK telecom, and likely Russia’s Yota all planning launches this year.

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