LTE In-depth information

LTE – key facts

LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is the global standard for the fourth generation of mobile networks (4G) supported by all major players in the industry. LTE offers the capacity and the speed to handle a rapid increase in data traffic. According to latest Ericsson Mobility Report, there will be 9,3 billion mobile subscriptions in 2019. 65% of the world's population will have LTE coverage 2019.

Currently there are 279 commercially launched LTE networks in 101 countries and 482 LTE network commitments in 147 countries. (GSA March 2014)

Performance and capacity – One of the requirements of LTE is to provide downlink peak rates of at least 100Mbps. The technology allows for speeds more than 300Mbps and Ericsson has already demonstrated the next step of LTE at the MWC 2010 with theoretical peak rates up to 1.2Gbps.

Simplicity – LTE supports flexible carrier bandwidths, from 1.4MHz up to 20MHz. LTE also supports frequency division duplexing (FDD) and time division duplexing (TDD).

Latency – The user plane latency achieved in LTE is less than in existing 3G technologies providing a direct service advantage for highly immersive and interactive application environments, such as multiplayer gaming and rich multimedia communications.

Wide range of terminals – In addition to LTE dongles and mobile phones, many computer and consumer electronic devices, such as notebooks, ultra-portables, gaming devices and cameras, will incorporate embedded LTE modules.

LTE – background

The fast evolution of mobile communication over the last decades plays a central role in the daily life of practically every person on Earth. It is a fundamental part to the global economy and will play an even more vital part for most aspects of global progress in the decades to come.

With mobile broadband the pace and possibilities in communication has picked up. Just consider:

  • It took 100 years to build 1 billion fixed phone lines...
  • …but only 20 years to add 5 billion mobile subscribers.
  • Mobile data surpassed voice on a global basis during December 2009.
  • An increased global broadband penetration of 10 percent increases the yearly GDP growth with about 1 percent – or around USD 800 billion annually, adding millions of jobs around the world.
  • According to estimates, there will be 9,3 billion mobile subscriptions in 2019.

Fixed and Mobile Subscriptions 2010-2019

Mobile broadband subscriptions

The introduction of LTE will be an evolutionary step, rather than revolutionary, as large parts of existing infrastructure is re-used providing a future-proof technology path for flexible migration of services between 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies.

Even though 3G will continue to do a perfectly good job in delivering broadband to billions of mobile users for many years to come, LTE will be essential in order to meet customer expectations and demand for speed and capacity enabling more data demanding and latency sensitive applications such as interactive TV, mobile video blogging, advanced games and professional services.

LTE will be a main driver for innovation in the years to come, enabling the next Google, Facebook or iPhone and opening doors to possibilities in a number of new areas like utilities transport, health, media to name a few.

Ericsson and LTE

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Ericsson is the leader in 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, and provides support for networks with over 2 billion subscribers and has the leading position in managed services.

  • An important key to the quick deployment potential of commercial LTE networks is Ericsson’s Self Organizing Networks (SON) solution, offering customers standardized "plug and play" networks with a high degree of automation saving time and improving performance.
  • Ericsson has signed LTE contracts with the top ten ranked operators by global revenue 2012. A number of these contracts include radio access, evolved packet core and mobile backhaul and VoLTE.
  • Ericsson continues its leadership in the Magic Quadrant for LTE Infrastructure 2013 according to Gartner, Inc., the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Ericsson named a leader for 4th year in a row, in the Gartner Magic Quadrant report for LTE Network Infrastructure, August 2013.*
  • Ericsson is the undisputed leader in development and standardization of LTE and offers end-to-end networks with superior performance when it comes to stability, throughput, and latency – the most important key factors for end-users of LTE.
  • Ericsson has had the highest impact on the released LTE specification and expects to hold 25 percent of all essential patents in LTE.
  • Ericsson is the global leader in telecom services and has won the world’s first Managed Services deal for LTE.
  • Ericsson's core network solutions include industry-leading soft switches, IP infrastructure for edge and core routing (Ericsson's Smart Service Routers), IP-based Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and gateways. GSM and WCDMA/HSPA share a common core network. Therefore operators' previous investments are preserved as they migrate from voice-centric to multimedia networks. Ericsson's switching products have industry-leading scalability and capacity.
  • Ericsson’s MINI-LINK microwave system is one of the world’s most widely deployed mobile backhaul solutions. Transport networks (e.g. MINI-LINK, metro optical networks) are essential elements of our end-to-end solutions.

* Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Ericsson LTE/EPC contracts

More than 190 LTE RAN and Evolved Packet Core networks have been delivered worldwide to more than 70 countries, of which more than 130 have gone live commercially. (By end of Q4, 2013)

Ericsson LTE/EPC Contracts

List of operators that have selected Ericsson’s LTE/EPC offer:*

3 - Denmark

3 - Italy

3 - Sweden

A1 - Austria

Alfa - Lebanon

AT&T - Puerto Rico

AT&T - USA

Batelco - Bahrain

Bhutan Telecom - Bhutan

Bouygues telecom - France

DNA - Finland

dtac - Thailand

Cellcom - Israel

China Mobile HK - Hong Kong

China Mobile - Mainland China

Chunghwa Telecom - Taiwan

Claro - Brazil

CMHK - Hong Kong (FDD+TDD)

eAccess - Japan

EastLink - Canada

EMT - Estonia

Energy Australia - Australia

Entel – Chile

Etisalat - United Arab Emirates

KDDI - Japan

KT - South Korea

LGU+ - South Korea

Magyar Telecom - Hungary

MetroPCS - USA

Mobily - Saudi Arabia

M-Tel - Bulgaria

MTN - South Africa

MTS - Canada

MTS - Russia

NBN Co - Australia (TD-LTE)

NetAmerica Alliance - USA

NTTDoCoMo - Japan

O2 – United Kingdom

Oi - Brazil

Omantel - Oman

Open Mobile - Puerto Rico

Orange - France

Orange - Jordan

Polkomtel - Poland

Real Future – Thailand

Rogers - Canada

Siminn – Iceland

Singtel – Singapore

SK Telecom - South Korea

Slovak Telekom - Slovakia

SmarTone - Hong Kong

Smile - Nigeria

Sprint - USA

Softbank - Japan

STC - Saudi Arabia

Swisscom - Switzerland

T-Mobile - USA

Telcel - Mexico

Tele2 - Norway

Telecom Slovenije - Slovenia

TDC - Denmark

TeliaSonera - Sweden (World’s first),

- Norway

- Finland

- Denmark

- Estonia

- Lithuania

Telstra - Australia

Tier3 contracts - USA

- Adams NetWorks (Illinois)

- Appalachian Wireless (Kentucky)

- Agri-Valley Communications (Michigan)

- Bluegrass Cellular (Kentucky)

- Carolina West (North Carolina)

- Cellcom (Wisconsin)

- Chariton Valley (Missouri)

- Chat Mobility (Iowa)

- Colorado Valley Communications (Texas)

- Enhanced Telecommunications Corp. (Indiana)

- Globecomm (New York)

- IT&E (Guam)

- MidRivers Communications (Montana)

- NetAmerica (Texas)

- NewCore Wireless (Minnesota)

- NexTech Wireless (Kansas)

- Northwest Missouri Cellular (Missouri)

- Rural Independent Network Alliance (Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming)

- S and R Communications (Indiana)

- SRT Communications (North Dakota)

- South Georgia Regional Information Technology Authority (Georgia)

- Syringa Networks (Idaho)

- VTel Wireless (Vermont)

TIM - Brazil

Tishknet - Iraq

Une - Colombia

Unitel - Angola

UPC - Netherlands

US Cellular - USA

Verizon Wireless - USA

Vipnet - Croatia

Vimpelcom – Russia

Vivo - Brazil

Vodafone - Germany

Wataniya - Kuwait

Yoigo – Spain

Zain – Bahrein

* List shows the largest operators that have selected LTE, some smaller ones are not shown here (January 2014).

List of operators that have selected Ericsson Managed Services for LTE:

TDC - Denmark (Worlds first)

NBN Co - Australia

FAQ

What is LTE?

LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is the global standard for the fourth generation of mobile networks (4G) supported by all major players in the industry. LTE offers the capacity and the speed to handle a rapid increase in data traffic with close to 9,3 billion mobile subscriptions in 2019.

What are the advantages of LTE for users?

LTE gives a superior user experience when it comes to stability, throughput, and latency. The increased capacity will bring new and better services to users.

What are the advantages with LTE for operators?

LTE offers existing and greenfield operators the advantage of a future proof network delivering capacity, throughput and user experience creating new business opportunities and revenues. LTE offers low long-term capital and operational costs. Networks deployed today can be used for all generations of communication; 2G, 3G and 4G.

How fast is LTE?

Today’s LTE networks are able to provide speeds up to 100Mbps. However user experience may vary depending on location and present network load. The technology allows for speeds more than 300Mbps and Ericsson has already demonstrated the next step of LTE at the MWC 2010 with speeds up to 1.2Gbps. Live measurements in north of Stockholm in June 2011 gave speeds above 1Gbps.

When will I be able to use LTE?

This depends on where you live. LTE is being deployed already today in large parts of the world, with North America, Korea and Japan currently having the highest LTE penetration. Today there are more than a 1563 LTE-ready devices (smartphones, tablets, modems) announced (GSA March 2014).

Currently there are 279 commercially launched LTE networks in 101 countries and 482 LTE network commitments in 147 countries. (GSA March 2014)

Will LTE make previous standards like HSPA (3G) obsolete?

No, in many markets HSPA and EDGE will continue to do a perfectly good job in delivering broadband to billions of mobile users for many years to come.

The introduction of LTE is an evolutionary step, rather than revolutionary, as large parts of existing infrastructure is re-used providing a future-proof technology path for flexible migration of services between 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies. But in order to meet customer expectations and demands for capacity and speed tomorrow, all major players need to put an LTE strategy in place today.

What is Ericsson’s position in LTE?

Ericsson has supplied the large majority of the commercial LTE networks already deployed and has signed contracts with the top ten operators, ranked by global revenue 2012.

Ericsson is the undisputed leader in development of LTE and offers networks with superior performance when it comes to stability, throughput, and latency – the most important key factors for end-users of LTE. Ericsson offers LTE in both technology tracks; LTE FDD and TD-LTE and collaborates with all leading players in the industry to secure the eco system.

Ericsson has had the highest impact on the released LTE specification and expects to hold 25 percent of all essential patents in LTE.

There are many claims about patents, what are the facts?

Ericsson has a tradition of making conservative predictions and has tried to keep a realistic approach in patent issues.

In the early stages of LTE rollout many exaggerated claims have been made about number of essential patent rights.

The main sources of error are:

  • The majority of patents counted are pending and not approved.
  • Many patents listed in databases are only distantly related to LTE, and hence not essential

Today Ericsson has a total of 33 000 granted patents, and is the number one holder of GSM/GPRS/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA, and LTE essential patents. We expect to hold 25% of the LTE patents.

Ericsson has over 100 patent license agreements generating significant revenue, which is re-invested in the eco system. New (and renewed) patent licensing agreements will also cover LTE.

What will happen with voice calls over LTE?

Unlike previous generations of mobile networks, LTE is completely IP-based and supports only data transfers in its basic form. However most operators are likely to offer their customers solutions for voice services. Already 3 VoLTE networks are live in Korea.

Operators will benefit from an early voice over LTE strategy supporting their existing and future services.

In our view GSMA VoLTE, a solution supported by the governing body of GSM telecommunications systems, offers the best opportunity for operators to evolve their services toward full multimedia while protecting and expanding their business.

For LTE to support voice and messaging, an IP-based solution is required that will offer the same interoperable and seamless experience that 2G and 3G wireless technologies offer today. IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) can achieve this, and supports all voice call service features such as call waiting, call hold and call barring, and is highly scalable to serve very large subscriber bases. IMS also provides mobile operators with the ability to offer services that can integrate voice calls with enhanced, rich features such as presence, instant messaging and video content, delivered in an interoperable and multi-operator environment.