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Three-Quarters of the World on Track to Receive LTE Services

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Three quarters of the countries around the world have now had firm commitments by their mobile networks to deploy LTE services.

That's 150 countries, and 497 mobile networks, according to findings from research by the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association).

So far, 288 LTE networks have commercially launched in 104 countries.

The majority of LTE operators have deployed the FDD mode of the standard. The most widely used spectrum in network deployments continues to be 1800MHz (3GPP band 3) which is used in 43% of deployments.

A total of 124 LTE operators have commercially launched with 1800MHz spectrum in 64 countries, either as a single band system, or as part of a multi-band deployment. The GSA also recently confirmed that over half of newly launched user terminals support operation in the 1800MHz band, which now has the largest device ecosystem.

The next most popular contiguous bands are 2.6 GHz (band 7) used in 26.7% of networks in commercial service today, followed by 800MHz (band 20) used in 13.5% of networks, and AWS (band 4) used in 8.3% of networks.

The GSA estimates that there were 240 million LTE subscribers worldwide at the end of Q1 2014.

Alan Hadden, President of GSA, said: "More operators are preparing to introduce voice service for their LTE customers with VoLTE, and investments in LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation technology is now the main trend."

36 TDD based LTE networks have also been commercially launched in 24 countries, including three networks in China. According to the GSA report, 1 in every 8 commercially launched LTE networks incorporates the TDD mode (sometimes referred to as TD-LTE), and momentum is growing.

23 operators launched LTE service using only the TDD mode, while 13 operators deployed both TDD and FDD modes in their networks. 252 operators have commercially launched using FDD mode only.

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