GL Communications – LTE, VoLTE and the path to 5G
One of the hottest topics around the mobile industry is “5G.” When it will happen; how it will be monetized; who’s going to lead the charge geographically; which operators; which vendors; etc. How far away is 5G and is it appropriate to be putting so much focus on this topic already? We shouldn’t discount the continued evolution of LTE and voice over LTE just yet.
According to the GSA, LTE is the fastest-growing mobile system technology ever. In a mid-July report the GSA shared the following statistics:
- 677 operators in 181 countries have committed to spending on LTE infrastructure.
- Of the 677 operators, 638 are deploying while 39 are working on trials.
- There are 422 commercial networks with LTE or LTE-Advanced in 143 countries.
- By the end of the year these commercial networks will grow to 460.
- As of June there were 3,253 choices of LTE-compatible devices available.
- As of the end of the first quarter of 2015, there were 635 million LTE subscribers globally.
The GSA also included the status of current VoLTE activities in this July report. Is VoLTE moving as fast as LTE or does the industry still have some work to do on this technology to enable a more ubiquitous service offering? From a deployment perspective it seems the GSA would concur with the latter view. The GSA’s statistics noted:
- 103 operators in 49 countries have committed to spending on VoLTE deployments and trials.
- Of these operators, there are 25 commercial networks with VoLTE deployed in 16 countries.
- As of June, there were 219 choices of VoLTE-compatible devices available, 198 of which are smartphones.
Of course it’s too early for 5G projections as the market is still focused on the definition of what 5G is at this point. In discussions with Robert Bichefsky, senior manager atGL Communications, about the continued successful evolution of LTE, wider adoption of VoLTE and ultimate deployment of 5G; the focus is all about testing to ensure network performance and customer experience provide a positive outcome for the end user.
Want to learn more on these topics? Join RCR Wireless News and industry experts on our latest “The Path to 5G” webinar today, Aug. 26, or on demand shortly following the live program. Register here.
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Claudia Bacco, Managing Director – EMEA for RCR Wireless News, has spent her entire career in telecom, IT and security. Having experience as an operator, software and hardware vendor and as a well-known industry analyst, she has many opinions on the market. She’ll be sharing those opinions along with ongoing trend analysis for RCR Wireless News.