Asia-Pacific's LTE rollouts to date have been dominated by 1800-MHz and 2600-MHz FDD deployments. But with major TDD deployments planned in China and India and dual-mode FDD/TDD rollouts gaining traction, a different picture is emerging.
The region accounts for 14% of global LTE deployments, with networks launched across 11 countries in APAC. Competition is a key factor driving LTE with three or more networks operational in 55% of the nations where LTE is live.
The dominant LTE deployment band across the Asia Pacific is 1800-MHz spectrum, followed by networks using 2600-MHz spectrum.
Exhibit 1: Radio spectrum bands used for LTE deployments in the Asia Pacific
Source: Tolaga Research
On a proportional basis, the use of 1800-MHz for LTE in Asia Pacific is similar to the picture in EMEA, where 40% of LTE networks are also using the band either on a standalone basis or in association with spectrum in other bands. Again on a proportional basis, 2600-MHz is used in a larger (36%) amount of LTE networks deployed in EMEA.
Around 63% of LTE networks in the Asia Pacific are single band and 70% of these are based on either 1800- or 2600-MHz spectrum. Nine in ten of the multi-band LTE deployments in the region include the use of spectrum at 1800 MHz. Re-farmed spectrum at 2100-MHz is in use in 18% of the LTE networks in the Asia Pacific.
The limited use of unpaired TDD spectrum for LTE in the Asia Pacific is set to change dramatically as a result of planned TDD deployments in the huge markets of China and India. China Mobile has recently announced its selection of nine vendors - Shanghai Bell Alcatel-Lucent, NSN, Ericsson, Datang Mobile Communications, Huawei, Wuhan Communications Technology Co, ZTE, the New Postal Communications Equipment Co and the China Putian Information Industry Co.