As the New Year of 2012 dawned around the world, two LTE launches announced on January 1st tipped the commercial network count over the 50 mark. The total launch count reached at 52 on January 3, 2012 with the entrance of Viva Bahrain, T-Mobile in Hungary and Korea Telecom into the LTE fray. As we mark this milestone in the evolution of the global 4G landscape, notable highlights include:
·Europe leads the way: With 28 announced network launches, over half of the world’s commercial 4G networks are located in Europe. Of these, Western Europe accounts for 16 commercial deployments in six nations – Sweden, Norway, Austria, Finland, Germany and Denmark. In all of these nations, with the exception of Norway, more than one operator has launched services. In Eastern Europe, Uzbekistan and Poland are leading the LTE push.
·Asia Pacific momentum: As 2011 closed out there was a wave of commercial launches in the region with Korea Telecom and SingTel joining rival operators in their home markets bring the total live networks in the region to 8.
·Progressive adoption in North America: With seven LTE networks now switched on in North America, Canadian operators Rogers and Bell joined the group in 2011. This was rounded out by the 4G launch of Leap Wireless on December 21, 2011.
·Take off in the Middle East: September 2011 witnessed the birth of LTE in the region as Saudi Arabia’s 3 major operators launched services. At the tail end of the year the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain were also home to new launches.
·Latin America joins in December 2011: Three commercial LTE services were announced in the region in the month in Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia meaning that all major regions of the globe are now on the live LTE map.