Maradevis reported in its 4GCounts quarterly report that by Q4 2011 the worldwide subscriber base almost doubled in size compared to the previous quarter, to end up reaching 12.02 million subscribers.
This demonstrated a massive adoption phase in favour of LTE, and managed to sideline WiMAX adoption. Quarter on quarter the increase was 92% for LTE and 14% for WiMAX.
As last year came to a close, there were 54 operators worldwide that had successfully launched LTE commercially. 193 more were expected to adopt FDD-LTE and 31, TD-LTE in the near future. "Maravedis anticipates that 469 million LTE subscribers will be active by 2016 of which 25% or 118 million will be TD-LTE users and the rest (75% or 350 million) will be FDD-LTE," said Cintia Garza, 4GCounts team leader.
Most TD-LTE trials in Q4 2011 have been concentrated in APAC, with 18 operators testing the technology. Europe was next, with 5 operators. "Although we have seen some commercial TD-LTE deployments happening in 2011 outside Asia, these deployments will not drive the substantial economies of scale expected from the larger deployments in China and India this year," said Basharat Ashai, co-author of the report.
In Q4 2011, NSN-Motorola and Huawei enjoyed the lion's share of awarded LTE contracts, with 26% and 23% respectively.
The majority of LTE devices today support the 700MHz band because the largest deployments were from US operators Verizon Wireless and AT&T. "We believe, however, that the number of devices covered in the 2.6GHz band will soon exceed the devices deployed in the 700MHz. The 2.6GHz has been widely allocated for mobile broadband across the world in both FDD and TD-LTE modes. We believe that multimode and multi-frequency devices will gradually become the norm," said Garza.