LTE Ecosystem July 2020 – Global Status Report- GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) monitors and researches worldwide mobile broadband developments and publishes facts, statistics and trends. This report confirms 16,807 LTE user devices identified as launched (including 61 commercial 5G devices also supporting LTE) from 755 manufacturers and provides an analysis of the main developments and trends.
This new total is 19% higher than the number of devices identified by GSA in March 2019. This report covers LTE FDD and TDD (TD-LTE) models and LTE-related cellular IoT devices standardised by 3GPP as UE Cat-M1/M2 and UE Cat-NB1/NB2.
While 5G grabs the headlines, LTE still dominates global mobile telecoms. There are 797 operators with commercially launched mobile or broadband fixed wireless access networks (GSA: NTS Database June 2020). There were 5.43 billion LTE subscriptions globally by the end of Q1 2020 (source: Omdia, June 2020). LTE accounts for over 59.2% of mobile subscriptions globally. Given this huge market, it is not surprising that there is a vibrant technology ecosystem supporting operators with LTE networks and within that, a large number of vendors selling a huge array of devices.
There are 16,807 LTE-capable user devices including frequency and operator variants from 779 suppliers verified in GSA’s GAMBoD database, a 16.2% increase since June 2019. The number of devices has continued to grow rapidly, at an average growth rate of more than 2,800 devices per year for the past four years.
The phone form factor has the largest ecosystem with 10,406 phones announced, including operator and frequency variants, giving a 61.9% share of all LTE devices. The LTE-capable CPE/router, LTE-connected tablet PC and LTE module segments (3,038, 1,192 and 1,169 devices respectively) are also large. Other categories being tracked include USB modems (322 devices), asset trackers (180), notebooks (100), cameras (68) and smart watches (62), as well as femtocells, vehicle on-board units (OBUs), car hotspots, fixed wireless terminals/phones, drones, kiosk terminals, PC cards, POS machines, projectors, smart-home devices, vehicle accessories and voice translators.
Most devices operate in the FDD mode (15,238 devices out of 16,807: 90.7%), while the number of terminals that support LTE TDD (TD-LTE) continues to grow: 7,377 (43.9%) LTE devices support the LTE TDD (TD-LTE) mode.
LTE networks are operating commercially in many bands. Table 1 (LTE-FDD) and Table 2 (LTE-TDD) confirm the frequency bands that are most supported by the devices ecosystem.
1800 MHz: largest ecosystem
The most popular spectrum for LTE deployments is 1800 MHz. Band 3 is used in 381 commercial LTE networks globally (47.8% of the total).
Band 3 also has the largest LTE user devices ecosystem: 11,491 Band 3 user devices are announced in the market, i.e. 68.4% of LTE devices can operate using spectrum at 1800 MHz.
800 MHz Band 20
The second-most deployed spectrum band in networks worldwide is 800 MHz Band 20 (used in 199 launched networks). The ecosystem of devices is strong, with 6,838 known supporting LTE devices (40.7% of all devices).
2600 MHz Band 7
The third major FDD band in terms of global deployments is Band 7, launched in 190 commercial networks. Its ecosystem is strong: 2600 MHz FDD is supported by 9,978 LTE devices (59.4% of the total).
3GPP decided from the beginning that LTE must support both FDD and TDD modes with the minimum possible difference between the two modes. The emphasis has been on leveraging synergies between the modes to the largest extent possible. The result is that almost all parts of the LTE specifications are the same for both FDD and TDD. By end-June 2020, GSA had identified 234 operators holding licences to use spectrum enabling provision of TD-LTE services, of which at least 165 were actively using the spectrum.
The LTE-TDD user devices ecosystem is well established with 7,377 devices, i.e. 43.9% of LTE devices in GAMBoD support the LTE-TDD (TD-LTE) mode and thus supporting the growing number of LTE operators using unpaired spectrum. The phone is the largest device category supporting TDD: 4,830 phones are included in GAMBoD.
Bands 40 (2.3 GHz) and 41 (2.6 GHz) and 38 (2.6 GHz) have the largest choice of TDD terminals with Band 39 also being mature.
Terminal support for Band 40 = 80.3% (of LTE-TDD devices announced)
Terminal support for Band 41 = 62.4%
Terminal support for Band 38 = 61.9%
Terminal support for Band 39 = 43.6%
There is a good choice of multi-band and dual-mode FDD-TDD devices.
LTE Ecosystem July 2020
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