In India LTE services are yet to go mainstream, as Airtel 4G is still on its way to find a better uptake. But worldwide LTE is getting huge momentum as it seems to be the fastest growing mobile technology ever.
In a recent report by GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) LTE (both LTE-FDD and LTE-TDD) services has been commercially launched by 105 operators til October 1, 2012 and available in as many as 48 countries.
In 2009 there were only 2 operators with commercial LTE network, next year 15 operators joined. In 2011 30 operators rolled out LTE services, as year end cumulative total was 47. Till October 1, 2012 a fresh 58 operators have launched LTE services. GSA predicts the 2012 year end may see 159 commercial LTE networks in 68 countries. In last 12 months there were 70 LTE commercial launches.
LTE-TDD services are also being launched, 11 operators have launched commercial service using the LTE TDD mode in unpaired spectrum in Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Oman, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and UK., with at least another 16 commercial network deployments in progress.
Spectrum refarming is increasingly recognized by regulators and the industry. 1800 MHz band, primarily a 2G band is getting importance for rolling out LTE for its flexibility for mobile broadband services delivery. More than 30% of LTE operators have launched LTE1800 in 26 countries.
As per GSA’s Evolution to LTE report data, 351 operators are investing in LTE, which in 41% more than last 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.“