This year we will see both LTE and HSPA+ deployments becoming significant worldwide. LTE deployments are now gathering momentum although, as shown in the figure below, it is still early days with LTE. There have been 20 LTE networks commercially launched so far, in 14 countries. We expect more than 40 additional LTE commercial launches by the end of 2011.
This week, the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) released its ‘Status of the LTE Ecosystem’ report. The GSA claims that there are now 154 operators “firmly committed” to deploying LTE networks, with a further 54 “pre-commitment” trials or pilots taking place. Based on this, the GSA claims that LTE is now the fastest developing mobile systems technology ever.
In all the excitement surrounding LTE, it’s important not to overlook the progress being made with HSPA+. We have long since argued that HSPA+ has great benefits for operators, increasing peak data rates, average throughputs and increasing spectral efficiency. Back in June 2009, I discussed increasing interest among mobile operators in HSPA+. It’s good to see the clear upward trend in HSPA+ deployments in the figure below. We expect 160 HSPA+ networks to have been commercially launched worldwide by the end of 2011.