This month, the GSA provided its latest data on LTE launches, showing that LTE deployment continues to gather pace worldwide. By the end of August 2011, 26 commercial LTE networks had been launched. The GSA expects at least 93 LTE networks to be in commercial service by the end of 2012. It was a particularly eventful July, with commercial launches of LTE networks by SK Telecom and LG U+ in South Korea, O2 in Germany and Rogers Wireless in Canada.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Europe is lagging behind North America and Asia with LTE. Developments in Japan, South Korea and Australia demonstrate that the Asia Pacific region is becoming a hotbed of LTE activity.
In July, I reported that SK Telecom in South Korea has launched LTE services and is targeting ‘flawless’ nationwide coverage by 2013. LG U+, which is the smallest of the three mobile network operators in South Korea, also launched LTE services in July. LG U+ has the ambitious aim of securing 10 million customers by late 2014. LG U+ intends to complete nationwide LTE rollout by mid-2012.
In Japan, NTT DoCoMo launched LTE services in December 2010. Its main competitor KDDI intends to launch LTE by December 2012, aiming to offer mobile broadband coverage for 96.5% of Japan’s population by March 2015.
In Australia, Telstra launched LTE services at the end of August 2011.