39 operators launches LTE TDD, 13 launch converged systems

The latest Status of the  confirms a rising number of operator commitments to LTE TDD (TD-LTE) network deployments, new commercial service launches, rapid expansion in the choice of user devices, especially smartphones, and accelerating subscriber growth.

Within the current total of 39 commercially launched LTE TDD networks, 13 operators have launched converged systems, i.e. using both TDD and FDD mode in the networks. GSA confirms this is a growing industry trend. For example, some operators in India are deploying converged networks using LTE FDD 1800 MHz (band 3) and TDD 2.3 GHz (band 40) spectrum, which is a combination supported by 152 user terminals.

39 operators, which is around 1 in 8 LTE operators, have commercially launched LTE TDD (TD-LTE) systems in 26 countries as per Global LTE TDD Market report published by GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association).

Another 48 operators are currently deploying or planning networks. Added to this are a number of operators who are undertaking technology trials and studies. GSA has calculated therefore that almost 120 operators globally are investing in LTE TDD.

The TDD mode of LTE is the most efficient and highest performing radio access network technology for operators with unpaired spectrum.

The devices ecosystem for the TDD mode is mature and has expanded rapidly. Within the total of 1,889 LTE user devices that have been introduced to the market, as recently confirmed by GSA, 530 products i.e. 28 percent of all LTE devices and 330 more than a year ago, can operate in the LTE TDD mode (TD-LTE). GSA confirms 85 device manufacturers have launched LTE TDD products.

Alan Hadden, president, GSA said, “TDD operators are focusing more on personal mobility and the smartphone is the key segment. Recent progress has been excellent and 184 TDD smartphone products have now been announced, which is 87 percent more than the total in March 2014.”

39 operators launches LTE TDD
Band 40 (2.3 GHz) is used in 19 networks
Band 38 (2.6 GHz) is used in 9 networks
Band 41 (2.6 GHz) is used in 8 networks
Band 42 or 43 (3.5 GHz) is used in 6 networks
Band 39 (1.9 GHz) is used in 1 network
Source: GSA

A year ago, 52 percent of LTE TDD devices were routers (including personal hotspots), while smartphones had only 10 percent share. Now routers make up 38 percent of TDD products, and the smartphone category has grown its share to 35 percent.

Bands 40 (2.3 GHz) and 38 (2.6 GHz) have the largest choice of TDD (TD-LTE) terminals, each band being supported by 68 percent of all LTE TDD devices. Terminal support for band 39 is 38 percent, band 41 is 34 percent and band 42 is 4.5 percent

GSA forecasts that the global TDD share of LTE subscriptions, fuelled by its popularity in China with 14 million LTE TDD subscribers by end June 2014, will surge from around 5 percent in Q1 2014 to over 15 percent by end 2014.

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