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The Wireless Blog from Unwired Insight discusses the latest developments in wireless networks and services, including the new technologies and architectures of LTE-Advanced and 5G. For expert advice on 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G mobile systems and standards, including GSM, UMTS, LTE, LTE-Advanced and 5G-NR, please contact us.

LTE and HSPA+ deployments gather pace

Photograph of Mark HeathThis 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.

Chart of HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE commercial deployments from October 2009 to April 2011

Commercial deployments of HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE, 2009 to 2011

Dr Mark Heath co-founded Unwired Insight in 2001, to provide analysis and market intelligence for the mobile telecommunications industry. Previously he contributed to the standardisation of GSM, UMTS and DECT and held senior roles for a mobile network operator and equipment manufacturer. Mark has written over 40 industry reports and has advised investors, network operators, equipment vendors, lawyers and government bodies.

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