LTE networks ‘running at 1Gbps’ by end of 2016, says suppliers

The first gigabit LTE services should be in operation by the end of 2016, according to industry suppliers – a development that will put further pressure on backhaul and international wholesale operators.

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), which represented leading equipment vendors, says that 738 operators are investing in LTE across 194 countries. 

This figure comprises 708 firm network deployment commitments in 188 countries – of which 521 networks have launched – and 30 pre-commitment trials in a further six countries.

But there is a growing tendency among operators to build LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro networks, which will deliver even faster speeds than standard LTE, said Alan Hadden, vice president of the GSA.

“LTE-Advanced is mainstream,” said Hadden. Over 100 LTE-Advanced networks today are compatible with smartphones and other devices that can downlink at 151-300Mbps. The number of networks running at 301-450Mbps “is significant and expanding”, but even faster systems, running at up to 600Mbps “are commercially launched, leading the way to gigabit service being introduced by year end”.

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