LTE becomes reality, 3G gains ground through HSPA

Despite the buzz about LTE, only 11% of total cellular subscriptions worldwide are 3G, according to market research and consultancy In-Stat By 2013, this will rise to 28%. Meanwhile, LTE is moving into contract awards, but at the same time, a number of 2G contracts were awarded in the first quarter of 2009.

HSPA is the main beneficiary of the drive to 3G as it leads new deployments and contract awards so far in 2009. Ericsson and Huawei led the infrastructure providers in contract awards for HSPA. The new, high profile contract awards in 3G included China Unicom, Telecom Italia and Telefonica.

LTE contracts have been awarded in Japan, Singapore, US, Norway, and Sweden. While Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Huawei are the early beneficiaries of first wave of LTE contract awards, which will dominate in the longer term remains to be seen.

During 1Q 09, there were nine WiMAX 802.16e networks deployed worldwide, mainly in Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe.