LTE has hit a commercial milestone with 300 operators now running networks across 107 countries.
According to the latest figures from the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association), LTE is now available in 31 more countries than it was a year ago, with Bulgaria, Taiwan and Vanuatu the latest nations to gain commercial access to the technology.
Thirty five LTE networks have launched so far this year and the GSA said it expected more than 50 more will launch before the end of the year. GSA president Alan Hadden said investment in LTE Advanced was a major trend this year, and the report found at least a fifth of operators are investing in deploying LTE-A technologies.
As for other pointers to the future, the report found that a growing number of operators are using two or more frequency bands – lower bands for rural and in-building coverage and higher bands for capacity. There is also a greater focus on the use of voice in LTE networks, with 62 operators investing in VoLTE studies, trials or deployments.
Eight operators in Asia and North America have launched HD voice services using VoLTE. There is also growing interest in LTE Broadcast enabled by eMBMS technology.
The most widely used spectrum continues to be 1800 MHz, used in 129 networks either as a single band system, or as part of a multi-band deployment, in 67 countries. The next most popular contiguous bands are 2.6 GHz used in 25.6 percent of networks in commercial service today, followed by 800 MHz, used in 14.3 percent of networks, and AWS, used in 8.3 percent of networks.
Thirty six LTE TDD networks are present in 24 countries – 23 operators have launched LTE service using only the TDD mode, and 13 operators have deployed both TDD and FDD modes in their networks. 264 operators have commercially launched using the FDD mode only.