6:00 PM -- As nearly 150 4G LTE networks have been deployed in 66 countries around the world, the 1800MHz band is emerging as the clear choice for global roaming in many countries.
The Global Mobile Suppliers Association noted this week that the band is the one most used in the LTE universe:
1800MHz (3GPP band 3) has emerged as the dominant band for LTE network deployments in virtually all regions of the world. The report confirms that 58 operators, i.e. 40 percent of all commercial LTE operators, use 1800 MHz spectrum either as a single band system, or as part of a multi-band deployment, in 39 countries. At least another 22 LTE1800 network deployments are in progress in the Asia Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Manufacturers including all the leading brands have ensured a wide choice of LTE user devices that can operate in 1800 MHz spectrum. GSA earlier confirmed that 130 LTE products, almost one in four, support LTE1800.
The reason 1800MHz is so used is that it is a GSM band -- along with 900MHz -- in many parts of the world. The spectrum is sometimes favored because it can handle heavy traffic loads.
Not so in the U.S., however, so expensive multi-mode phones will still be needed to have any chance of 4G global roaming for American travelers. Here's what I had to say about that a couple of years and several hats ago:
There's some hope for Sprint Nextel Inc. if it wins control of Clearwire Inc. The 2.6GHz band that carrier supports for 4G is named by the GSA as the second most likely band for LTE global harmonization.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile