Almost 80 LTE networks launched in 12 months

There are now 45 per cent more operators investing in LTE than a year ago, according to the latest report from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA). The GSA report highlights the continued growth in the technology and the surrounding eco-system since its inception in late 2009.

A total of 113 operators have now launched LTE across 51 countries, 77 of which were launched in the past 12 months.  Some 195 further networks are in the development stages and 209 networks are forecast to have launched by the end of 2013.

Alan Hadden, president of the GSA, said in a statement, “Regulators are responding to the need for more spectrum for mobile broadband services in all regions. Spectrum auctions were completed in recent months in Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Lithuania, Romania, and Russia and further auctions will be held over the next few months. The move towards technology-neutral licensing policy, e.g. refarming of the 1800MHz band provides a further significant boost to spectrum supply for LTE deployments.”

The report notes that the 1800MHz frequency is one of the prime bands for LTE, having been launched on 36 per cent of all commercial networks with 41 operators launching LTE1800 across 29 countries.

The UK is the latest region to benefit from spectrum refarming, with the carrier Everything Everywhere launched LTE on 1800MHz in 11 cities in the country, with coverage in 16 cities promised by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the European Commission has now called on member states to make 120Mhz of spectrum available around the 2GHz frequency for use with LTE.

LTE also accommodates unpaired spectrum, and the report notes that eleven operators have launched commercial services using LTE TDD.

To complement the growth of LTE there are now a total of 521 LTE end-user devices available from a total of 79 manufacturers – a 164 per cent increase in the number of devices available since last year – with Apple iPhone 5 the most high profile addition to the LTE ranks.

The full report is available as a free download to registered site users at the GSA web site.

For more in-depth LTE knowledge join the world’s leading LTE operators at the world’s premier 4G event at the LTE North America 2012 conference, taking place next week at the 14-15th November 2012 at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel, Texas. Click here to download a brochure.

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