Twelve operators commit to LTE deployment in 2010

At least twelve mobile operators are planning to launch LTE (Long Term Evolution) services during 2010, according to a new study from ABI Research. By 2011 the number of LTE users worldwide could be close to 34 million.

The key to early LTE launch is spectrum availability, says ABI, with regulators in the US, Sweden and China leading the way in opening up appropriate spectrum.

In the absence of such helpful regulators operators are being forced to postpone their plans for LTE deployment. Amongst the first to launch will be Verizon Wireless, MetroPCS Wireless, and U.S. Cellular in the USA, NTT-DoCoMo and KDDI in Japan and TeliaSonera, Tele2 and Telenor in Europe. Korean operators KT and SK Telecom are also expected to launch but have yet to make a formal announcement. China Mobile plans to launch in 2011.

There have also been early announcements regarding LTE infrastructure suppliers with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Starent picking up major contracts from Verizon Wireless. NTT DoCoMo is also using Ericsson together with local vendors NEC and Fujitsu while TeliaSonera has chosen Ericsson and Huawei. The Chinese vendor is looking to be a major player in the LTE market with Tele2 and Telenor as early customers.

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