LTE across the globe

As of January 2013, 145 commercial networks across 66 countries currently offer LTE services to mobile users – and according to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), this is forecast to grow to 234 networks in 83 countries by the end of the year.

In its LTE Market Summary for January 8, 2013 the organization noted further that hundreds of operators across the globe have committed to investing in LTE technology within 114 different countries.

“LTE is the fastest-growing mobile system technology,” the GSA said. “LTE technology is now mainstream.”

According to the GSA, there are 43.7 million LTE subscriptions as of Q3 2012, globally.

Professional services firm, Deloitte, predicts that LTE subscriber numbers are likely to triple, reaching around 200 million, globally, by year end.

In South Africa, all major operators have launched, or are in the process of launching LTE in the country.

SA’s biggest operator, Vodacom, was the first network to launch LTE in October 2012 – while the second largest operator, MTN, launched its commercial services a month later.

Cell C and Telkom‘s 8ta are both still currently trialling their LTE networks in the country.

Where in the world can you find LTE?

LTE Coverage
LTE Coverage (click to enlarge)

The LTE offerings from Vodacom and MTN in South Africa are currently available through refarmed spectrum in the 1800MHz band, while Cell C is trialling LTE in the 2100MHz band and 8ta in the 2300MHz band.

According to the GSA’s data, the 1800MHz band is the most widely used for 4G/LTE systems deployments, globally, with LTE1800 deployed in over 40% of commercial LTE networks.

Popular LTE bands
Popular LTE bands

153 consumer devices – including 41 smartphones – from leading brands employ LTE1800 technology, the GSA noted.

South African operators are currently awaiting the release of the 800MHz and 700MHz (Digital Dividend 1 and 2, respectively) spectrum bands for use on the LTE networks, which will become available after the digital TV migration.

LTE1800 Commercial networks
LTE1800 Commercial networks

More on LTE

LTE subscriber numbers set to triple in 2013

8ta LTE coverage continues to grow

Cell C LTE trial details emerge

Vodacom launches LTE in SA

MTN LTE launches in SA

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LTE across the globe