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300 mobile operators have commercially launched LTE networks in 107 countries

To date, 300 mobile operators have commercially launched LTE networks in 107 countries, according to a data released by GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) in its latest LTE report.

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35 LTE networks have launched so far in 2014. The total number of commercial 4G LTE networks is expected to exceed 350 before the end of this year.

Some of the latest nations to experience commercial LTE mobile broadband service for the first time include Bulgaria, Taiwan and Vanuatu. LTE is now available in 31 i.e. 40% more countries than a year ago.

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The most widely used spectrum for LTE deployments continues to be 1800 MHz (3GPP band 3) which is 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 LTE bands are 2.6 GHz (band 7) used in 25.6% of networks in commercial service today, followed by 800 MHz (band 20) used in 14.3% of networks, and AWS (band 4) used in 8.3% of networks.

In Malaysia, LTE services are offered using 2.6 GHz (band 7) and 1800 MHz (3GPP band 3).

36 LTE TDD (TD-LTE) networks are commercially launched 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.

The latest Evolution to LTE report from GSA also confirms:

  • The growing number of operators using two or more frequency bands in LTE networks (lower bands for rural coverage and in-building penetration, higher bands for capacity)
  • LTE networks capable of supporting 150 Mbps peak downlink (speed for Category 4 user devices) are commercially launched in at least 33 countries
  • At least 20% of operators are investing in deploying LTE-Advanced technologies, which in the first phase is carrier aggregation. Support for 300 Mbps Category 6 user devices is commercial reality on several networks
  • Increased focus on handling voice on LTE networks. 62 operators are investing in VoLTE studies, trials or deployments, including 8 operators in Asia and North America who have commercially launched HD voice service using VoLTE
  • The rapid pace of commercialization of the APT700 FDD band plan with increasing availability of devices including smartphones, and 3 commercially launched networks. This is the first time a technology (i.e. LTE) in one band is available almost globally
  • Growing interest in LTE Broadcast enabled by eMBMS technology to efficiently deliver multimedia content one-to-many. Many trials have been completed at major sporting events and the first commercial LTE Broadcast service has launched.

There were 245.4 million LTE subscriptions by March 31, 2014 representing 135% annual growth. 40 million LTE subscriptions were added in Q1 2014 according to data from Informa Telecoms and Media.

GSA reported in its March 2014 Status of the LTE Ecosystem report that 1,563 LTE user devices had been announced by 154 manufacturers.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy