BY STAFF REPORT
As many as 2 million people in Latin America are likely to sign up for LTE/4G mobile broadband services by the end of 2013, according to a forecast from 4G Americas, the trade assocation of telecom operators.
At the end of 2012, there were 93,000 people using the LTE service in the region.
The industry body reports that 150 operators worldwide have now launched commercial LTE services in 67 countries, 50 of which were launched in the past five months.
The number of LTE connections worldwide is most likely to be doubled over the next 12 months.
In Latin America, LTE service is relatively new. Thirteen 4G services were launched in the region last year, and the countries that launched this high-speed wireless broadband include Antigua & Barbuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, México, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay.
“The surge of LTE mobile broadband deployments worldwide is unprecedented,” stated Chris Pearson, president of 4G Americas.
The industry association says operators are investing a lot of money to upgrade their network and some operators are likely to launch LTE-Advanced networks this year.
There were 63 million LTE connections at the end of 2012, and this figure may be increased to 134 million by the end of this year. LTE connections are predicted, somewhat optimistically, to approach 1 billion by the end of 2017.
According to the report, 22 commercial LTE networks were deployed last year in Canada and the United States.
“While LTE is seeing phenomenal uptake worldwide, HSPA and HSPA+ are providing the backbone to the mobile broadband evolution,” said Pearson. “HSPA and HSPA+ will continue to provide the important foundation of global mobile broadband connectivity, ubiquitous fast data service, and a future evolutionary path.”
Just as HSPA has made significant improvements through its’ evolutionary steps, LTE will also evolve quickly to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) through a planned fast upgrade cycle.
Although the majority of LTE connections today are in three spectrum bands worldwide – 700 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2.6 GHz—LTE has been deployed in 20 separate bands to date.
Other bands such as AWS 1700-2100 MHz are beginning to gain traction and will be widely deployed in the Americas region, according to 4G Americas.