LTE to 5G: March 2021
LTE is a global success with over 5.8 billion subscriptions, connecting over 62% of mobile users worldwide. LTE is specified by 3GPP as a single global standard for paired and unpaired spectrum users. The vast majority of the standard is the same for FDD and TDD. LTE has evolved through various 3GPP technology releases covering the introduction of LTE-Advanced and then LTE-Advanced Pro that have significantly improved the capabilities of LTE networks. From 3GPP Release 15 onwards, the community has been defining 5G networks, starting with Non-Standalone 5G systems that integrate with existing LTE networks and then moving on to Standalone 5G systems with substantially different network configurations. GSA’s Evolution from LTE to 5G report provides an independent in-depth status view and analysis of the global 4G/LTE, LTE-Advanced and 5G markets, supported by facts, and confirms technology trends. Information is obtained, analysed and verified by GSA. The report is published quarterly and referenced by industry across the whole ecosystem.
Key market facts
917 operators in 243 countries/territories that have stated plans to invest or are actively investing in LTE for public networks, including those evaluating/testing and trialling LTE and those paying for suitable spectrum licences (excludes those using spectrum licences exclusively for 2G or 3G services).
807 operators running LTE networks providing mobile and/or FWA services in 240 countries/territories worldwide.
a total of 280 operators investing in VoLTE in 127 countries/territories, of which 228 have launched commercial VoLTE networks in 108 countries/territories.
327 launched LTE-Advanced networks in 148 countries/territories. Overall, 360 operators are investing in LTE-Advanced technology in 156 countries/territories.
Twelve launched networks that support user equipment (UE) at Cat-18 DL speeds within limited geographic areas and six of these supporting Cat-19 (in a limited area).
217 operators deploying or operating TDD-based LTE or 5G networks.
428 operators in 132 countries/territories investing in 5G mobile or 5G FWA/home broadband networks.
153 operators in 64 countries/territories who have (as of mid-March 2021) announced 3GPP-compatible 5G service launches (either mobile or FWA).
Note that all references to countries/territories in this document can be read as also including territories, special administrative regions, disputed territories and dependencies.
LTE to 5G: March 2021