Stars aligning for LTE Advanced rollouts later this year

Development of carrier-aggregation testing capability is setting the stage for the rollout of LTE Advanced (LTE-A), which North American mobile operators are expected to commercially launch by year's end.

Testing company Anite announced that it has made the first LTE-A carrier aggregation test case verification submissions to RAN5, which handles 3GPP mobile terminal conformance testing.

Carrier aggregation enables operators to combine spectrum bands to deliver faster broadband services. Anite said the test cases were developed using its conformance toolset and in collaboration with major North American and Asian chipset and device manufacturers.

Anite's submissions were based on initial verifications originally submitted by Anite to RAN5 in April 2013 and represent a key stepping stone towards validation, which, in turn, should lead to inclusion of these test cases in device certification requirements for PTCRB in the North American market and GCF for the European market. Carriers require such certification before they will enable a cellular device to access their network.

The test cases were developed in collaboration with major North American and Asian chipset and device manufacturers, said Anite. The firm added that development of carrier-aggregation testing capability will enable device and chipset manufacturers to accelerate the development of LTE-A products ahead of formal GCF and PTCRB certification, expected to commence in the second half of 2013. 

North America will be the most aggressive LTE-A market, followed by Asia Pacific and Western Europe, according to a recent report from ABI Research.

North American mobile operators are expected to commercially launch LTE-A by the end of 2013, and mobile subscriptions will approach 220 million by 2018, contributing 44 percent of the global LTE-A market, said the firm.

"All the major US mobile operators in the United States have shown their commitment to LTE-Advanced, and LTE-Advanced upgrades are underway," stated Jake Saunders, ABI vice president and practice director of core forecasting.

The company predicts global LTE-A subscriptions will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 295 percent between 2013 and 2018 to reach 500 million, which will represent 34 percent of the overall 1.47 billion LTE-related subscriptions.

Total global LTE subscriptions for the first quarter of 2013 rose 37.5 percent quarter-on-quarter, reaching 108 million, added ABI.

For more:
- see this Anite release
- see this ABI release

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