Global LTE Network Count Hits 300 Operators
Published on: 17th Jun 2014
LTE is now commercial on 300 networks in 107 countries, adding 109 new commercial networks year over year since June 2013, with 350 commercial LTE networks anticipated by the end of 2014, as reported by 4G Americas.
Additionally, LTE-A is now commercially deployed on 9 networks in 7 countries worldwide, with those numbers expected to reach 40 networks by year-end 2014.
"In five years, since the first launch of LTE by TeliaSonera in 2009, there has been explosive growth in LTE network deployments as the entire ecosystem - operators, vendors and stakeholders combined - progress the technology," commented Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. "As LTE becomes the foundation of the wireless landscape, LTE-Advanced is the evolutionary step for increased speed and network capacity. We are beginning to see activity around LTE-Advanced including initial launches and devices."
Key facts regarding global LTE deployments:
- 500 total commitments to LTE deployments by mobile operators to date
- LTE connections are forecast to surpass 2.3 billion by 2020
- 23 LTE-TDD and 264 LTE-FDD networks, with an additional 23 networks with both LTE-TDD and FDD
- 10 radio spectrum bands used for LTE today ranging from 700 MHz to 2.6 GHz
Although Europe has risen to the top with the most LTE commercial networks deployed, North America remains in the leadership position of LTE subscriptions worldwide with 45 percent of the world's 278 million LTE connections at the end of May 2014 (Informa Telecoms & Media estimates).
In March of this year, AT&T launched LTE-Advanced in Chicago making them the first major U.S. carrier to offer the service. It is expected that all four national U.S. carriers - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon - will launch LTE-Advanced in 2014 and 2015.
The world's first LTE-Advanced network using Carrier Aggregation was commercially launched in South Korea by SK Telecom (which included a compatible handset) in June 2013. Carrier Aggregation is important for carriers around the world as it allows them to create larger spectrum swaths by combining disparate spectrum assets. The larger the spectrum swaths, the better the efficiency of LTE; however, Carrier Aggregation is just one component of LTE-Advanced; it also includes other elements such as Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP), Self-Optimizing Networks (SON), small cell enhancements, Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC) and advanced Multi-Input Multi-Output (MIMO) antenna technology to improve network performance and capacity.
|Region||Commercial LTE Networks||LTE Connections Millions / Market Share|
|Europe (East and Western)||115||39.8 / 14%|
|Asia Pacific||54||103.6 / 37%|
|U.S. and Canada||49||125.8 / 45%|
|Latin America & Caribbean||40||3.6 / > 1%|
|Africa||23||1.9 / < 1%|
|Middle East||19||2.9 / 1%|