LTE‑Advanced gains momentum: IHS Markit

Stephane Teral, senior research director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, IHS Markit, says 84 percent of telecom service provider respondents are already running LTE‑Advanced (LTE-A) networks.

The result is following a survey by IHS Markit.

4G challenges

# Barriers to deploying 4G are nonexistent at this point, and the main driver for 4G is the lower cost per megabyte of data

# Easy upgradability and standards compliance are the top two LTE features among those surveyed

# Respondent carriers view Ericsson as the top LTE vendor, followed by Nokia and Huawei

A year ago, around half of survey respondents were running LTE-Advanced.

Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) data recently showed that 521 telecom operators have commercially launched LTE, LTE-Advanced or LTE-Advanced Pro networks in 170 countries. 147 of these operators have deployed LTE-Advanced, and 9 have commercially launched LTE-Advanced Pro.

There will be 560 LTE network deployments by the end of 2016 thanks to focus on making investment in LTE-Advanced.

The most deployed LTE-Advanced feature among telecom operator respondents is inter-band carrier aggregation, followed by enhanced inter-cell interference coordination and LTE‑Advanced coordinated multipoint. Three- and four-component carrier aggregation is rising fast, and five component is coming soon.

Three-quarters are offering Voice over LTE (VoLTE) against just a quarter last year. This will not lead to imminent 2G or 3G shutdown, but 2G is rising on the agenda, said Stephane Teral.

Over 50 percent of telecom operator respondents plan to deploy LTE in unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U) by 2018. They are operating in very competitive markets that push them to use as many spectrum ammunitions as possible to stay ahead of the capacity crunch curve to keep their subscribers happy and, of course, on their networks.