Almost 600,000 Base Stations to be Upgraded to LTE-A by 2018, Says ABI Research

  Almost 600,000 Base Stations to be Upgraded to LTE-A by 2018, Says ABI

Business Wire

SINGAPORE -- July 31, 2013

Yota launched the first LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network in Russia last October;
however, with the first compatible handset, SK Telecom was the earliest to
make the technology commercially available in June 2013. Within two weeks, the
South Korean operator has already claimed over 150,000 subscriptions, roughly
0.6% of its total. The United States will have at least four LTE-A networks in
service by the end of this year as well. This fierce competition will see more
than half of the LTE subscribers in North America using LTE-A by 2017.

Underpinning this rapid adoption is the upgrade of base stations to support
LTE-A worldwide, which is increasing at a CAGR of ~200% between 2012 and 2018
to reach more than half-a-million strong. “It’s about boosting capacity as
data consumption soars,” said Ying Kang Tan, research associate. “Besides
acquiring more spectrums, operators need to use the scarce resources more
efficiently. Thus, despite all the clamor about a spectrum crunch, spectrum is
one option—but not the only one—to enhance capacity. LTE-A provides part of
the answer.”

“Nevertheless, spectrum is essential. Operators are keenly reaching out to
secure whatever spectrum they can get. As a result, they are ending up with a
variety of different frequency bands. This is where carrier aggregation
technology becomes useful,” added Jake Saunders, VP and practice director.

While many emerging markets surprised the world with early LTE deployment, ABI
Research notes that they are served by fewer LTE networks. In Middle East and
Africa for instance, each market is served by an average of 1.1 LTE networks.
It remains to be seen if the lack of competition will give less incentives for
operators there to advance to LTE-A.

The “4G Subscribers, Devices, and Networks” Market Data contains regional as
well as selected country-level segmentation for the 4G market, including
mobile WiMAX and LTE. Segmentation includes subscribers, devices, and base

These findings are part of ABI Research’s LTE Research Service

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends
in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North
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ABI Research
Christine Gallen, +44-203-326-0142
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