The latest update to the "Status of the LTE Ecosystem" report published by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) confirms accelerating growth of the LTE ecosystem and expansion in the availability and performance of LTE-Advanced devices.
The report covers LTE FDD and TDD (TD-LTE) devices. 4,416 LTE user devices, including frequency and operator variants, from 369 suppliers are verified by GSA as announced in the market. 1,770 devices have been added to GSA’s LTE devices database (GAMBoD) since February 2015, confirming 67 percent annual growth. The number of LTE device suppliers grew 34 percent in the same period.
The scope of the research for the report was widened this time to include the device ecosystems for band 30 (2.3 GHz WCS spectrum) and band 21 (1.5 GHz). Terminals capable of supporting LTE Broadcast services enabled by eMBMS were also identified.
Alan Hadden, VP of Research, GSA, said: “With deployment of LTE-Advanced systems supporting Category 6 user devices (theoretical peak downlink up to 300 Mbps) the major industry trend, there is a good and expanding choice of user devices. 259 products support Category 6 or higher, including small cells, routers/gateways, MiFis, smartphones and tablets. Eight of those are Category 9 devices (450 Mbps) and 2 are Category 12 (600 Mbps).”
1800 MHz (band 3) is the most popular spectrum for LTE, used in over 44 percent of networks. 54 percent of LTE devices can operate in band 3, creating the largest ecosystem. 2,381 LTE1800 (band 3) terminals are announced of which 1,614 smartphones represents 68 percent of the total; 152 are Category 6 devices. The next most deployed bands are 2.6 GHz (band 7): 1,381 products, and 2.1 GHz (band 1): 1,185 products.
With regards to LTE-Advanced 2,159 devices support UE Category 4, (up to 150 Mbps downlink) or higher, i.e. 49 percent of all LTE devices. The first commercial chipsets for supporting Category 16 (up to 1 Gbps downlink speed) using LTE-Advanced Pro technology are anticipated this year.
1,746 devices i.e. almost 40 percent of LTE devices support the LTE TDD (TD-LTE) mode. Bands 40 (2.3 GHz) and 38 (2.6 GHz) followed by bands 41 and 39 also having well established mature ecosystems. The 3.5 GHz ecosystem (bands 42, 43) is growing; 56 user terminals are available. Convergence is a strong theme and a growing trend with several devices supporting both TDD and FDD modes.
118 operators are investing in VoLTE enabling an HD voice experience for their LTE customers. 300 VoLTE-capable devices (including for carrier and frequency variants) including 275 smartphones are announced. VoLTE terminals are offered by all the leading vendors.
The "Status of the LTE Ecosystem" report is available as a free download to registered site users via the link at http://www.gsacom.com.