Global LTE Deployment Status

2012 is going to be year of LTE in terms trials and commercial launches. In the first week of this year 3 commercial LTE launches have already been announced so far, operators are Viva (Bahrain), T Mobile (Hungary) and KT (South Korea). In total 30+ commercial LTE rollouts are expected this year.

As of now 49 LTE networks has been commercially launched in 29 countries. Including these total 226 firm LTE network deployments are planned or in progress in 76 countries, says a recent GSA report. A further 59 operators in 17 additional countries are engaged in pre-commercial LTE technology pilot trials, tests or studies. An updated LTE deployment (till Dec 31, 1011) MAP is available at http://ltemaps.org with deployment time lines and LTE band details.

LTE small cell deployments are expected to form a key market trend in 2012 as well. A number of operators including Verizon and Sprint have already committed to LTE femtocells. Last week, SK Telecom announced completion of the development of 'Wi-Fi Integrated LTE Femtocell. A survey conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media had earlier showed that 60% of operators believe small cells will be more important than macrocells in LTE networks.

On subscriber base, LTE subscriptions are reaching to 6.4 million that currently comprise only 0.1 % of the total market (6.1 billion global cellular network subscriptions). According to Research and Markets, LTE subscriptions will significantly grow over the next 5 years, eventually representing more than 8 % of the market in 2016. Presently, U.S operator Verizon Wireless and Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo are leading the LTE market with market shares of 63 % and 22 % respectively

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