The surge in LTE deployments will result in more than 100 new LTE networks launched in 2013 alone.
Additionally, the evolution of LTE to LTE-Advanced has been commercially launched on two networks to date. Some analysts expect numerous LTE-Advanced networks to be launched by the end of this year as mobile network operators deploy one or more of the enhanced features of the standard.
“Telia Sonera, in Norway and Sweden, was the first mobile network operator to commercially launch LTE in December 2009 and today the groundswell of commercial deployments continues as government regulators allocate and auction new spectrum," said Chris Pearson, president of 4G Americas.
Carrier Aggregation appears to be a very popular feature for operators deploying LTE-Advanced, as it provides the capability to combine disparate and underutilized spectrum assets increasing the size of an operator’s mobile data pipes.
LTE-Advanced using Carrier Aggregation was commercially launched in South Korea by both SK Telecom (which included a compatible handset) in June 2013 and LG U+ in July 2013. Four commercial LTE-Advanced networks are expected to launch in the United States by the end of 2013.
LTE’s explosive growth is reflected not only in more networks, but also in rapidly increasing connections and broader selections of devices worldwide.
Key findings from the global market study include:
- 200 commercial LTE networks today; 250 commercial LTE networks expected by the end of 2013.
- Over 440 total commitments to LTE deployment by wireless operators to date.
- 72 million LTE connections at the end of 2012.
- 125 million LTE connections as of June 2013; representing an increase of 64 percent in six months.
- Forecast 150 million LTE connections by end of 2013, more than doubling LTE connections at the end of 2012.
- LTE connections are forecast to reach 1 billion by early 2018