30% of operators investing in LTE-A, VoLTE rollouts grow – report

A report released by the GSA details the growth in uptake of LTE-A networks and the deployment thereof. According the report, 30% of all operators are now actively investing in LTE-A infrastructure.

While growth of LTE rollouts continues across more rural parts of the world – the total number of operator LTE network deployments grew from 566 to 638 since the last report in January – it is LTE-A and VoLTE deployments which have seen significant growth and traction within the telecoms industry. LTE-A deployments, according to the GSA, have now taken hold in all markets around the world – over 30% of operators in investing in LTE-A system deployments, with the commercialisation of carrier aggregation the first feature to be exploited. 88 operators – more than 20% of all LTE operators – have now commercially deployed LTE-A in 45 countries.

VoLTE, meanwhile has seen significant growth in the last six months, since the last report. 103 operators are now investing in VoLTE deployments or trials in 49 countries – up from 80 operators in January – with 25 operators having now commercially launched VoLTE-based HD voice services, up from 3 launched in March last year. The GSA reckons many more VoLTE launches are expected this year, with the major UK mobile operators expected to follow this summer.

The report also detailed various spectrum aspects of LTE, and some of the key findings were as follows:

  • LTE1800 is now used in 187 commercially launched networks in 89 countries representing over 44% of LTE network deployments.
  • The next most popular contiguous band for LTE systems is 2.6 GHz (band 7) being deployed in 100 networks.
  • 800 MHz (band 20) is by far the next most popular spectrum choice, used by 91 i.e. more than 1 in 5 LTE operators.
  • Most operators (90%) deployed LTE networks in paired spectrum using the FDD mode.
  • Currently 59 operators, which is almost 1 in 7 of all LTE operators, have commercially launched LTE service using the TDD mode in 35 countries.

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