The number of mobile operators launching LTE -- or at least offering firm commitments to do so -- has reached 497 spanning 150 countries, according to the latest GSA numbers.
There are currently 288 LTE networks live in 104 countries, up slightly since the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) last updated its numbers in February. (See LTE Hits the Ton: Now Live in 100 Countries and LTE to Cover Half the Globe by 2017 – GSMA.)
The majority of these deployments -- 43% from 124 operators -- use FDD spectrum, specifically the 1800MHz band, the suppliers group says. But LTE TDD deployments are accelerating with 36 now commercially launched in 24 countries. The GSA says that one in every eight commercially launched LTE networks incorporates TDD, either solely or alongside FDD. (See Sprint: LTE TDD Speed Boost Coming Soon and China Holds Key to LTE TDD.)
The GSA says there were 240 million LTE subscribers worldwide at the end of the first quarter. That compares to the 7 billion mobile users that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) says will be active by the end of 2014 in a separate report issued this week. That said, the ITU found that mobile growth rates have reached their lowest-ever level at 2.6% globally, suggesting we are nearly saturated with mobility -- at least as far as phones go. (See Is This the Real M2M?)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading