The Number of LTE Devices is the Number of the Beast
The GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) says that there are now a total of six-hundred and sixty-six (666) LTE devices announced or released by device manufacturers.
A coincidentally significant number, as in Christian mythology, 666 is the mark of the beast that is foretold to appear at the end of the world.
Alan Hadden, President of the GSA, didn't talk about fire and brimstone, but did say that: "Around 400 new LTE user devices were announced in the past year, and in this time the number of manufacturers grew by 52%. Smartphones are now the largest LTE device category."
450 LTE devices can also operate on HSPA networks, including 201 products that incorporate 42 Mbps DC-HSPA+ capabilities. A total of 193 devices can operate on EV-DO systems.
221 LTE smartphones, including operator and frequency variants were confirmed, representing 360% year-on-year growth to become the largest LTE user device category. LTE is supported in the most popular smartphones from all leading brands. The number of LTE-enabled tablets almost tripled during the past year.
Breakdown of LTE user devices by form factor:
- 2 PC cards
- 4 Femtocells
- 19 Notebooks
- 53 Tablets
- 64 Modules
- 102 Dongles
- 201 Routers
- 221 Smartphones
Total = 666 user devices (January 31, 2013). Note that some products are carrier or country specific and are not available in all markets.
Regarding frequency band support, the report findings for the main LTE bands are as follows (several products support more than one band):
- 700 MHz (bands 12, 13, 14, 17): 284 devices
- 800 MHz (band 20): 137 devices
- 1800 MHz (band 3): 153 devices
- 2600 MHz (Band 7): 180 devices
- 800/1800/2600 MHz triband: 112 devices
- 2100 MHz (band 1): 107 devices
- AWS (Band 4) 147 devices
Most LTE user devices operate in the 700 MHz band. however this is a broad definition encompassing 4 sub-bands and most of these devices operate in only one of those bands.
Band 7 (2.6 GHz) has the highest support with the greatest number of compatible devices, followed by 1800 MHz (band 3) i.e. LTE1800. The number of LTE1800 devices more than tripled in the past year. GSA recently confirmed that 1800 MHz is the dominant band for LTE network deployments in virtually all regions of the world, and is used by 40% of all commercially launched LTE networks currently.
A user with a triband 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz LTE FDD device could potentially use it in 55 countries, i.e. in more than 80% of countries where LTE service is commercially available today (subject to inter-carrier roaming agreements).
124 devices can operate in the TDD mode of the LTE standard. Bands 38 (2.6 GHz) And 40 (2.3 GHz) have the largest ecosystems of user devices. Support for bands 41, 33, 42 and 43 is growing.