At least a dozen wireless operators will launch LTE networks in 2010, according to a new report from ABI Research. The research firm said that 34 million people worldwide are expected to have access to LTE in 2011. However, the group cautioned that additional LTE deployments hinge on governments freeing up the necessary spectrum.
"Spectrum availability is the primary factor impacting deployment plans," said senior ABI analyst Nadine Manjaro in a release. "In countries where telecommunications regulators are making appropriate spectrum available, many operators have announced plans to launch LTE. These include the U.S., Sweden China and others. Where no such spectrum allocations exist, operators are postponing LTE plans."
Among the first to deploy LTE will be Verizon Wireless, MetroPCS and U.S. Cellular in the United States, DoCoMo and KDDI in Japan and TeliaSonera, Tele2 and Telenor in Europe. AT&T has indicated it will launch its LTE network in the United States in 2011, and China Mobile has said it will launch LTE in China that year as well. The buildouts represent potentially billions of dollars up for grabs for the world's equipment vendors, ABI said, and Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Huawei are among the early winners.
In the United States, one of the main stumbling blocks to deploying LTE has now been cleared. On Friday the country transitioned to digital television, freeing up spectrum in the 700 MHz band for use on LTE networks. Apparently moving full-steam ahead, Verizon said it will begin LTE testing immediately following the switchover.
- see this release
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Correction, June 17, 2009: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated that 34 million people worldwide are expected to have access to LTE in 2010.