Report: Fragmented nature of LTE spectrum slowing down carrier decision process

While operators globally have reached a consensus on the next mobile broadband standard--LTE--the fragmented nature of spectrum for the technology is slowing the carrier decision-making process, says a new report from Informa Telecoms and Media.

It's a fuzzy picture when it comes to regulators freeing up new spectrum for LTE networks, and equipment and device vendors have been forced to decide on their own what frequencies their equipment should support, Informa said.

"Given the design and integration constraints associated with providing multiband support for LTE, device vendors and chipset providers in particular will want to consider the size of the global addressable market for each band, as well as regional band adoption patterns and band pairings, before configuring their products to support specific band combinations," said Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa.

The report also identified a range of distinct pairings and groupings designed to provider operators with a combination of capacity and coverage:

  • North America 700+2100
  • Latin America 700+2100 ; 700+2600
  • Asia Pacific 700+1800; 700+2100; 800+1800; 1800+2600; 2300+2600
  • Western Europe 800+2600; 800+1800+2600
  • Eastern Europe 800+2600; 1800+2600
  • Africa 2100+2600
  • Middle East 900+1800

LTE's spectrum flexibility has long been touted as an advantage for the technology, but it also means manufacturers must make tough decisions when it comes to supporting the right frequencies to achieve economies of scale.

"Even before international roaming between LTE networks becomes an issue, the need to support intra-regional and even within-country roaming will govern band selection as part of the necessary rationalization of bands supported by LTE devices," said, Julian Bright, senior analyst at Informa and author of report.

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