Global LTE network forecasts and assumptions - one year on
Over 200 live LTE networks forecast by 2015 using 38 spectrum frequency combinations
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GSMA Intelligence predicts that there will be 38 different spectrum frequency combinations used in LTE deployments by 2015, a fragmented scenario fuelled by ongoing spectrum auctions, licence renewals and re-farming initiatives across a wide range of frequency bands.
The lack of spectrum harmonisation represents a key challenge for the emerging LTE ecosystem, potentially preventing vendors from delivering globally compatible LTE products such as devices and chipsets.
Spectrum fragmentation has the potential to hinder global LTE roaming if device manufacturers are required to include support for many disparate frequencies in their devices. Given the backwards compatibility already required for either HSPA or EV-DO connectivity, we are unlikely to see a 'world' device in a handset form-factor soon.
GSMA Intelligence forecasts that there will be over 200 live LTE networks in more than 70 countries by 2015, up from 40 networks in 24 countries today. The number of LTE connections is forecast to grow from 7 million to close to 300 million over the same period.
Spectrum fragmentation by % of LTE connections, 2011/15
Source: GSMA Intelligence