With 941 new LTE devices launched in the past year, the device sector has seen almost 100 per cent annual growth, with the number of manufacturers playing in the space increasing by 68 per cent over the same period, according to statistics released this week by the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association).
The latest update to the Status of the LTE Ecosystem report reveals that 168 manufacturers have announced 1,889 LTE-enabled user devices, including all operator and frequency variants.
Predictably, smartphones underlined their status as the largest device category with 835 LTE-enabled smartphones taking a share of over 44 per cent of all LTE device types. But 175 LTE-enabled tablets are now available, representing 9.2 per cent of all LTE devices, with 43 more products now on the market compared to March 2014.
Naturally, 1800MHz (3GPP band 3) continues to be the most often used band for LTE network deployments globally with 43 per cent of LTE operators using 1800MHz in their networks, either as a single band, or as part of a multi-band deployment.
But interestingly, while the majority of terminals operate in the FDD mode, support for the TDD mode (TD-LTE) has significantly strengthened. 530 devices, which is 330 more than a year ago, can operate in LTE TDD mode. Deployments in China appear to be the main catalyst for growth with several new product launches being confirmed recently by a growing number of manufacturers and across different price points. Leading carrier China Mobile is a cheerleader for the TD-LTE sector.
Alan Hadden, President of the GSA, said: “Rapidly expanding LTE network coverage, boosted by digital dividend spectrum coming into use in several markets, the introduction of LTE-Advanced capabilities by operators in all regions, and the fast developing TDD market in China are amongst the key drivers behind the fantastic growth we reported today”.
Worldwide, at least 308 LTE networks have commercially launched and the GSA predicts that this number will grow to at least 350 networks in commercial service by the end of 2014.