The top 25 LTE carriers around the world (at least those who committed to the technology) are expected to have a number of 226.7 million subscribers with dual mode 3G/LTE devices by 2015, a recent research report from Maravedis shows. The study, called The Top 25 LTE Operator Commitments: Deployment Scenarios and Growth Opportunities, also shows that these carriers should have a combined 3G/UMTS subscriber base of 1,087 million by that year.
According to Cintia Garza, senior analyst and co-author of the report, 70 percent of the wireless operators interviewed for this study have experienced a 2-fold increase in data traffic over their networks in 2009. Esteban Monturus, senior analyst for Europe, added that around 84 percent of the mobile phone carriers around the world were expected to move from HSPA/HSPA+ while getting ready for the Long Term Evolution technology. In addition, he states that only 16 percent of the operators will be moving from CDMA/EVDO.
“Many operators will deploy LTE as a data network overlay with fall back to 3G network coverage where LTE is not available. So far, only 40% of the operators interviewed are planning and doing trials for voice over LTE. We expect this figure to increase as operators near LTE rollout,” Robert Syputa, senior analyst and report advisor commented. Basharat Ashai, co-author of the report, added “In the foreseeable future, LTE will primarily be deployed into unused or newly acquired spectrum bands, including 700 MHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.5-2.7 GHz BWA spectrum bands.”
Among the other findings of the report, we can count the fact that 242,000 accumulated LTE macro base stations are expected to be rolled-out in 2015, going high up from the 38,906 that should be deployed in 2013. The market is expected to be led by Chinese and European carriers after 2012, states the report, adding that 57 percent of carrier will make use of fiber backhaul, 12 percent will use microwave, while 31 percent of them should use a mixture of both technologies.
The report also shows that:
- More than 80% of the top 25 LTE (committed) operators have selected vendors for their LTE trials
- Ericsson, Huawei, and Alcatel-Lucent are the top 3, best positioned vendors for LTE trials and deployment contracts
- Network topology is changing towards smaller cells - 52% of the LTE Committed Operators are planning to deploy eNodeB microcells and picocells.