GSA: LTE available through 156 carriers in 67 countries; 1.8 GHz band dominates


LTE networks continue to be unveiled around the world, with the Global mobile Suppliers Association reporting that 156 carriers have launched commercial LTE services in 67 countries, with 98 commercial launches happening in the past year. The GSA predicts that by the end of the year, 244 commercial LTE networks will be operational across 87 countries.

Bolstering its forecasts, the GSA notes that 412 operators are “investing in LTE technology in 125 countries,” with 357 operators having made “firm deployment commitments in 113 countries,” and that 55 operators are “engaged in trials and studies in 12 additional countries.”

The association has found that the 1.8 GHz spectrum band continues to be the prime driver of LTE deployments, with 44% of commercial networks using the Band 3 spectrum, which in an increase from 37% using that band four months ago. European and Asian operators are using that band for their deployments.

“With a strong supporting ecosystem already established including several smartphones, 1800 MHz is likely to remain the prime band for LTE in the foreseeable future, and a key enabler for international roaming,” the GSA noted.

The 2.6 GHz band was deemed the second most popular for commercial launches, followed by the 800 MHz bands and the 1.7/2.1 GHz band.

The report added that the 700 MHz band also has the potential to be an important option for “digital dividend spectrum” around the world with an increasing number of carriers in Asia-Pacific and Latin America looking at the band for potential deployment. A number of domestic carriers currently are using the 700 MHz band for their LTE deployments, while Canada is set to auction off spectrum in that band later this year, while a number of Latin American countries are moving forward with 700 MHz auction plans.

As for specific spectrum usage, the GSA found that the TDD version of LTE was being used by 14 operators, with a majority of those operating in the 2.6 GHz and 2.3 GHz bands. Domestically, Clearwire is looking to begin deploying a TDD-LTE network using its 2.5 GHz spectrum.

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Dan Meyer

Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Software, Policy, Wireless Carriers
Dan Meyer started at RCR Wireless News in 1999 covering wireless carriers and wireless technologies. As editor-in-chief, Dan oversees editorial direction, reports on news from the wireless industry, including telecom software, policy and wireless carriers, and provides opinion stories on topics of concern to the market such as his popular Friday column “Worst of the Week.”