The number of LTE networks will grow to 460 in 2015 from 364 in 2014 and 264 in 2013, said GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) last week.
GSA said 393 telecom operators have commercially launched LTE in 138 countries. 107 operators commercially launched LTE service in the past year. 644 operators are investing in LTE across 181 countries. This comprises 607 firm network deployment commitments in 176 countries (of which 393 networks have launched), and 39 pre-commitments trials in a further 5 countries.
116 operators or around 30 percent telecom operators are investing in LTE-Advanced network. 64 operators have commercially launched LTE-Advanced service in 39 countries.
14 operators have launched HD voice service enabled by VoLTE in 7 countries, compared to only 3 launched in March 2014.
“Many more VoLTE launches will happen in 2015,” said Alan Hadden, VP of Research, GSA: “Interest in VoLTE has surged and over twice as many operators are investing in VoLTE compared to a year ago.”
The most widely used spectrum for LTE network deployments continues to be 1800 MHz (3GPP band 3). 176 LTE1800 networks, almost 50 percent higher than a year ago, are commercially launched in 86 countries.
1800 MHz is used today in 45 percent of LTE network deployments and continues to dominate the user devices ecosystem. Over 43 percent of LTE user terminals can operate in the 1800 MHz band. The next most popular contiguous band for LTE deployments is 2.6 GHz (band 7) and is used in almost 25 percent of networks.
800 MHz (band 20) is by far the most popular sub 1 GHz coverage band choice for LTE and gained share with over 1 in 5 operators globally currently using this spectrum.
While most operators deployed LTE networks in paired spectrum using the FDD mode, the LTE TDD mode (TD-LTE) for operators with unpaired spectrum continues to develop in all regions, and particularly in China.
54 operators, more than 1 in 8 of all LTE operators, have launched LTE service using the TDD mode in 34 countries. Band 40 (2.3 GHz) is the most widely deployed spectrum. 16 operators have deployed both FDD and TDD modes in their networks. Converged LTE networks with both FDD and TDD modes deployed is a growing priority for many operators.
10 operators have commercially launched LTE using APT700 (700 MHz) band 28 spectrum. APT700 is a key coverage band for LTE with near-global market potential. 42 countries have allocated, committed to or recommend APT700 band 28 spectrum for LTE deployments, in markets approaching 4 billion people. 76 APT700 (band 28) user devices comprising smartphones, tablets, CPEs and MiFi hotspots have been announced, said GSA.