Operators in almost all markets are in the process of implementing long term evolution (LTE).
In a report conducted by consultancy and research company, Analysys Mason, the emergence of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Latin America (LATAM) regions is set to challenge European and North American operators’ early lead.
The first LTE deployments occurred in Finland and Sweden, and while the US has the world’s largest LTE network, APAC and Latin America (LATAM) have the highest number of planned LTE networks.
Adoption of the Asia–Pacific Telecommunity Band Plan (APT700) in Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Mexico provides operators and users in the LATAM region with access to the worldwide LTE700 ecosystem, which offers a broad choice of equipment and terminals.
India, Malaysia and Vietnam are the leaders in the emerging APAC region for the number of LTE networks planned, with India, Malaysia and Nepal planning to launch TD-LTE networks also.
Several operators in EMAP are expected to deploy FD-/TD-LTE networks in order to take advantage of their paired and unpaired spectrum. Ten dual-technology LTE networks are already in commercial operation.
Research by Analysys Mason indicates that 59 LTE network trials were in progress as of July 31, 2013, with this figure accounting for cases where an operator has multiple trials underway, but might not eventually deploy operational networks. With 80 per cent probability, most of these trials will result in commercial deployment within the next two years.
The largest number of LTE network trials is in Central and Eastern Europe (at 26), emerging APAC (24) and Western Europe (20). Infrastructure vendors such as Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), Samsung and ZTE are demonstrating the required network upgrade and transition options, including LTE overlay and RAN solutions.
A “more-balanced global LTE market” is expected to emerge by 2018, in which markets such as Brazil, India and Russia will each account for 5 per cent of LTE connections worldwide. Support for LTE in APAC and LATAM will begin to offset the early influence that European and North American operators have had on the device and network vendors.