Mapping it out: Operator commitments to LTE in 2010

Analysts are expecting next year to be the year when LTE makes a big debut. Most notably, heavyweights Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) in the United States and NTT DoCoMo in Japan plan to turn on commercial service by the end of 2010.

According to ABI Research, 132 networks are in LTE trials or will see a commercial launch in the near future. That number is 32 more than at the end of 2009.

Ericsson Chief Financial Officer Jan Frykhammer told FierceBroadbandWireless that the world's largest infrastructure vendors saw a significant jump in LTE trials during the second quarter, but whether the trials translate into commercial contracts remains to be seen.

"Operators are now looking at the technology and trying to understand its advantages," he said. "Whether trials lead to contracts now or later is difficult to say."

For many operators, LTE deployments are contingent on getting access to suitable spectrum. Countries such as Finland, Denmark and Germany have now awarded spectrum for LTE, but other regions, such as Latin America, have not released spectrum.

In addition, operators in Europe will be able to refarm their existing GSM spectrum for LTE deployments, which might mean upgrades to equipment capable of supporting GSM, HSPA and LTE, but not necessarily an LTE deployment in the near term. The same could be true for some operators in the U.S., such as Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), which has indicated it is studying its next-generation options for its 1900 MHz CDMA network.

The map below is not meant to be an exhaustive list of LTE commitments and trials around the world, but rather a reference to indicate where the technology is heating up.

View Mapping it out: Operator commitments to LTE 2010 in a larger map

  Primary vendors Status
North America - -
AT&T Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson Deployment scheduled for 2011
LightSquared Nokia Siemens Networks Deployment scheduled for second half 2011 
MetroPCS Ericsson Major metro markets planned for year-end 2010
Shaw Communications Nokia Siemens Networks Deployment scheduled for late 2011 in Canada
Verizon Wireless Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson 25-30 markets commercially launched by year-end 2010
Europe - -
Cosmote (Greece) N/A Pilot network launched this year
Net4Mobility Huawei 100 cities in Sweden by year-end 2011
TDC (Denmark) N/A Commercial plans for 2010
Telekom Austria Huawei Running LTE pilot network
Telenor Denmark Nokia Siemens Networks N/A
TeliaSonera Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Huawei Offering commercial services in Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden. Expanding coverage to 29 markets in Norway and Sweden
VivaCell-MTS N/A Commercial service planned in Armenia in 2010
Vodafone Germany Ericsson, Huawei Deployments targeted at rural areas by 2011
Wind (Italy) Huawei N/A
Euroasia - -
MegaFon (Russia) N/A LTE tests beginning this year
Rostelecom (Russia) N/A Commercial availability in existing licenses by mid-2011
Yota (Russia) N/A Five networks going live by year-end 2010
Asia - -
China Mobile N/A Completed testing of TD-LTE with plans for trials networks in three cities
Chunghwa Telecom Ericsson Completed Taiwan's first field trials
CSL Hong Kong ZTE N/A
KDDI  Motorola, NEC Commercial network in 2012
NTT DoCoMo Nokia Siemens Networks, Fujitsu, Panasonic Commercial launch scheduled for year-end 2010
SingTel NEC Trials slated for Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines
SK Telecom N/A Commercial deployment in Seoul by 2011
Telstra Huawei Conducting live trials in Australia
Middle East - -
Etisalat Huawei Completed field and lab testing
Omantel N/A Contract for TD-LTE
Zain Bahrain Nokia Siemens Networks N/A
Zain Saudi Arabia Motorola N/A
Africa - -
Vodacom N/A Africa's first live LTE trial 
Latin America - -
Entel PCS N/A Engaged in trials with Rubberduck Media Lab in Chile for high speed mobile TV over LTE tests. 
Vivo (Brazil) N/A Pilot test planned for 2010


Mapping it out: Operator commitments to LTE in 2010