LTE-Advanced reaches 100 network milestone

Mobile industry trade association 4G Americas says the LTE-Advanced market has reached its centenary, with the announcement that there are now 100 commercially deployed networks in 49 countries worldwide.

The evolution of LTE-A into 5G and its future beyond 2020 was the main talking point at this year’s LTE North America event as 4G Americas hosted the premiere of 5G World North America.

According to 4G Americas, there are now 430 commercial LTE networks along with 100 commercial LTE-Advanced networks. Today’s total of 907 million total LTE subscribers will reach 3.6 billion by 2020, it forecast. There are 68 commercial LTE networks in the US and Canada. The US has seven commercial LTE-Advanced networks, belonging to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Redzone Wireless, while Canada has three, from Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus. Today’s total of 219 million North American LTE subscribers will rise to 392 million by 2020.

However, there is much greater potential for growth in South America, which has 71 commercial LTE networks in 25 countries. The current 35 million Latin American LTE subscriber base will multiply at least seven fold to 259 million by 2020, according to the pan American industry trade body.

The catalyst for growth will be the global standardisation group 3GPP, said Vicki Livingston, Head of Communications at 4G Americas, as it will be a new technology advancement moniker for the evolution beyond LTE-Advanced into LTE-Advanced Pro. “This will be a stepping stone for future network needs as well as the 5G ecosystem. 5G development is the focus of much of the industry but LTE-Advanced will continue to evolve with creative new features to serve customers for many years before 5G networks are commercially deployed in 2020 and beyond.”

The first LTE-Advanced networks were deployed in South Korea in June 2013 and used Carrier Aggregation, which has since become the most popular technology feature of LTE-Advanced. Yesterday reported how Nokia Networks and Deutsche Telekom had become the latest industry players to announce new advances in carrier aggregation.

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