200 LTE Networks Now Live Worldwide

There are now 200 commercial 4G LTE networks live in 76 countries worldwide -- a growth of 112 percent year-on-year -- according to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).

The GSA says that 106 LTE networks have been launched during the past 12 months, with 54 of those having gone live this calendar year.

Chile, Iceland, Iraq, Lebanon, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Qatar, Spain, Thailand, US Virgin Islands and Venezuela are all new entrants to the world of LTE this year. The U.S., South Korea and Japan still maintain the largest subscriber bases for the new 4G technology across the world. (See 4G LTE: Room to Grow Globally.)

A total of 443 operators in 130 countries are now investing in LTE. The GSA is predicting that 260 LTE networks will be launched by the end of 2013.

Of the 200 live LTE networks, 182 deployments use the frequency division duplex (FDD) version of LTE, with two channels of paired spectrum separated with a guard band for uploads and downloads. Nine networks use the time division duplex (TDD) version of LTE, which uses scheduling to allow data to be sent and received on a single channel. The other nine networks use a combination of FDD and TDD technology.

The number of LTE TDD networks is likely to increase over the coming years. Not all operators can get access to the wide paired spectrum channels needed for fast FDD LTE, while TDD supporters claim that the technology offers a bandwidth-efficient way to broadcast high-speed wireless data. (See Defining 4G: What the Heck Is LTE TDD?)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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