Thursday, February 11, 2010

Worldwide 4G Wireless Service Deployments

TeleGeography’s 4G Research Service has a new report out on worldwide 4G service deployment. Here's some highlights from the report.

  • There were more than 600 WiMAX networks either live or at the planning/deployment stage by the end of 2009.
  • The number of WiMAX deployments significantly exceeds HSPA and LTE deployments.
  • Only around 300 cellular networks have been upgraded with HSPA technology and fewer than 70 operators have committed to deploying LTE equipment.
  • Only a relatively small number of these WiMAX systems offer wide coverage areas; most only offer local or regional service.
  • Late 2009 saw the introduction of the world’s first commercial LTE networks, with TeliaSonera beginning to offer limited services in Stockholm and Oslo.
  • 2010 is expected to bring further LTE service launches in Europe, the US and Asia.
Where is it? Here's a great WiMAX deployment map from TeleGeography --> (click to enlarge).

LTE and WiMAX services both get lumped in to the 4G category. In the U.S. we're seeing Sprint/Clearwire rolling out WiMAX is selected areas (currently in 27 cities) and we'll see Verizon and AT&T launch their LTE services this year.

Which technology will "win"? TeleGeography analyst Peter Bell is quoted in the report press release:

While the footprint of WiMAX worldwide is still growing steadily, LTE deployments should gain momentum in 2010 and 2011. With LTE receiving strong backing from major cellular operators and equipment vendors, we project that LTE subscribers will ramp up far more quickly than WiMAX subscribers.

WiMAX is not going away however. Here's Peter Bell's response to the question:

The answer to the question ’LTE or WiMAX?’ is both. LTE and WiMAX both have roles to play, and both technologies will be with us for years to come.

To find out more about TeleGeography's 4G report, visit

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