WiMAX Featured Articles

More WiMAX Community Stories

December 14, 2010

ABI Research: LTE Deployment 'Slow but Steady'

By Mini Swamy
TMCnet Contributor

Carriers across the U.S. and around the world are competing for bits of the 4G pie, with WiMAX and rival LTE (News - Alert) offering varying peak wireless data speeds. ABI Research’s “4G City by City: Google (News - Alert) Earth Map” presents an interactive map of 4G network deployments across the globe, with WiMAX dominating, but also shows that LTE and TD-LTE deployments are being added gradually to the map as they come onstream. 

LTE made its debut appearance with Verizon Wireless (News - Alert) earlier this month, and TD-LTE is scheduled to launch in China in 2011. Elsewhere, LTE network trials and deployments are following in quick succession.

Globally, TD-LTE appears to be gaining in strength. ST-Ericsson (News - Alert) is building TD-LTE modems, Softbank has acquired Wilcom's 2.5 GHz spectrum in Japan, and Reliance Industries in India also appears to be veering toward TD-LTE. Most of the 4G spectrum is expected to be in the 2.5 and 3.5 GHz ranges.

“The area covered by 4G networks is expanding quickly, especially in the US, with reasonable adoption among subscribers,” said ABI Research (News - Alert) Director Philip Solis, in regards to the 4G network coverage. “There is also a possibility that some developing markets in Africa and Asia may bypass 3G technology altogether and opt for 4G network coverage.”

With the current trend, Solis expected that at the end of 2010, mobile WiMAX would cover 8 percent of the world's population, while LTE would cover only 2 percent.

The research report indicates that currently, although WiMAX had a much larger geographical footprint, the number of LTE announcements in the past quarter indicated that it was gathering momentum, albeit slowly. This was attributed to lack of funding, equipment and handset devices. Consumer take-up rate was also slow because of the more expensive price plans.

A point in LTE's favor seems to be that mobile operators deploying LTE are doing so with existing subscriber bases and towers. This means that they will be able to implement LTE faster than WiMAX has been deployed.

Research associate Fei Feng Seet said that Mobyland in Poland just launched the world’s first LTE network in the 1.8 GHz range, showing that a re-farming of spectrum could improve efficiency.

The research report also includes a comprehensive source of information of all 4G network providers, their operating spectra, access technologies, and key network vendors globally.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies.

Mini Swamy is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

comments powered by Disqus