Telcos launched 96 LTE networks in '14

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Operators worldwide launched 96 LTE networks in 2014, taking the total number in commercial operation up to 360, according to the GSA.

As of the end of the year, there were commercial LTE networks in 124 countries, the industry body said. This is up by 27 countries from 2013.

Of the 360 LTE networks in commercial operation, 312 were FDD only networks, 31 were in TDD mode and 17 used hybrid FDD and TDD modes.

LTE-Advanced also gained traction, with 49 operators in 31 countries launching the technology during the year. Nearly 30% of LTE operators are currently investing in LTE-A, the GSA estimates.

VoLTE is meanwhile picking up steam, with 80 operators in 42 countries investing in the technology. To date 14 operators in 7 countries have launched HD voice services using VoLTE.

The 1800-MHz band continues to be the most widely used spectrum for LTE, in use in 158 networks across 76 countries. Over 42% of LTE handsets can operate in the band. The 2.6-GHz and 800-MHz bands are also popular.

According to the GSA, 611 operators in 174 countries are investing in LTE. This includes 566 operator network deployment commitments across 166 countries.

Ovum estimates that the total LTE user base grew to 373 million by the third quarter of 2014, a year-on-year growth of 131%.

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