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LTE

in 900 MHz
(band 8) market
status report
March 27, 2016

This report by the GSA (Global mobile
Suppliers Association) gives an overview of
the status of LTE mobile broadband
deployments using 900 MHz spectrum (3GPP
band 8), the supporting user devices
ecosystem, and confirms growing industry
traction for deploying LTE systems in this
band. 17 LTE900 systems are commercially
launched in 12 countries and 22% of LTE user
devices can operate in 900 MHz spectrum.
962 LTE900 user devices are announced.


GSA Global mobile Suppliers Association

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LTE network spectrum options


GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) monitors
and
researches
global
mobile
broadband
developments and publishes facts, statistics,
information and trends. GSA confirmed that 480
operators have commercially launched LTE
networks in 157 countries (Evolution to LTE report,
January 25, 2016). There were 1.068 billion LTE
subscriptions globally by December 31, 2015.
Most operators (90%) deployed LTE networks in
paired spectrum using the FDD mode. The LTE
TDD mode (TD-LTE) for operators with unpaired
spectrum continues to develop in all regions. 71
operators i.e. over 1 in 7 of all LTE operators,
commercially launched LTE using the TDD mode in
43 countries. The most widely used FDD bands in
commercial use in LTE networks are shown below:

4,416 LTE User Devices


GSA monitors and researches worldwide mobile
broadband developments and publishes facts,
statistics and trends. 480 LTE networks are
commercially launched globally (GSA: Evolution to
LTE report: January 25, 2016). GSA forecasts there
will be 550 networks launched by end 2016. There
were over 1 billion LTE subs globally by end 2015.
4,416
LTE widely
user devices
includingforfrequency
and
The most
used spectrum
LTE network
operator
variants
from
369
suppliers
are
verified
deployments is 1800 MHz (3GPP band 3), used as
in
announced
by GSA. launched
1,770 devices
are added
to
213 commercially
networks
in 100
GSAs
database
(GAMBoD)
since ofFebruary
2015
countries
equivalent
to over 44%
LTE network
i.e.
67%
growth.
The
number
of
suppliers
grew
34%
deployments. The next most popular contiguous
in
the
same
period
(February
2015
=
275
suppliers).
band for LTE systems is 2.6 GHz (band 7) used in
108 networks. 800 MHz (band 20) is next, used by
100 LTE operators i.e. over 1 in 5 LTE operators.
17 operators commercially launched LTE mobile
broadband service in 900 MHz (band 8) spectrum
(LTE900), either as a single band system, or as part
of a multi-band deployment, many of which use
LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation technology.
GSA monitors and reports on the status of the LTE
user devices ecosystem, tracking form factors,
operating frequencies, mode (FDD and/or TDD),
which LTE
3G technologies
4,416
user devicesHSPA/HSPA+
- form factorsor EV-DO or
February
2016
GSA
Global mobile
TD-SCDMA
are
supported,
andSuppliers
other Association
capabilities
e.g. support for higher data throughput (Category 4,
The smartphone is the largest LTE device
6, 9 or higher), VoLTE, and eMBMS. 4,416 LTE
category. 2,706 smartphones including operator and
user devices including frequency and carrier
frequency variants are announced, giving an
variants from 369 suppliers are verified by GSA as
improved 61.2% share of all LTE device types. The
announced, according to GSAs Status of the LTE
LTE tablet PC segment is also fast-growing.
Ecosystem report published on February 11, 2016.
1,770 new LTE devices were added to GSAs LTE

devices database in the previous 12 months,


representing 67% annual growth. The number of
suppliers increased 34% in this period. LTE devices
address all segments see chart below:

Smartphones are easily the largest device category.


2,706 smartphones including operator and
frequency variants are announced, giving an
improved 61.2% share of all LTE device types. The
LTE tablet PC segment is also fast-growing. Most
devices operate in the FDD mode.

LTE
devicecanfrequency
bands
1,746 devices
operate in LTE
TDD mode (TDLTE).networks are operating commercially in several
LTE
bands (see chart Spectrum used in LTE
The table below summarizes the operating
networks (FDD and TDD deployments) via the
frequencies that are most supported by LTE
link on http://www.gsacom.com
devices. Several devices are multiband and/or
multimode.
Note confirms
that the choice
of devices
in most
each
The
table below
the bands
that are
band
broadly
aligns
with
the
bands
most
used
by
supported by the devices ecosystem. Several
operators
in
their
LTE
network
deployments.
devices are multiband and/or multimode.

LTE FDD
1800 MHz band 3
2600 MHz band 7
2100 MHz band 1
800 MHz band 20
800/1800/2600 tri-band
AWS band 4
850 MHz band 5
900 MHz band 8
700 MHz band 17
1900 MHz band 2
700 MHz band 13
1900 MHz band 25
APT700 band 28
700 MHz band 12
LTE TDD
2300 MHz band 40
2600 MHz band 38
2600 MHz band 41
1900 MHz band 39
3500 MHz band 42/43

2,381 devices
2,083 devices
1,927 devices
1,247 devices
1,157 devices
1,009 devices
973 devices
962 devices
829 devices
803 devices
545 devices
232 devices
260 devices
188 devices
1,269 devices
1,074 devices
998 devices
882 devices
56 devices

Note 1: Manufacturers
not declared
operatingAssociation
frequencies
February
2016 GSAhave
Global
mobile Suppliers
or fallback modes for some products
Note 1: Manufacturers have not declared operating frequencies
Note
2: Certain
products
areproducts
carrier or country specific and are
or
fallback
modes
for some
therefore not available in all markets
Note 2: Certain products are carrier or country specific and are
1
therefore not available in all markets

LTE / 3G fallback support

900 MHz (3GPP band 8)

900 MHz for LTE: global status

900 MHz (3GPP band 8) is used globally for GSM


voice and basic data mobile communications.
Technology neutrality licensing enabled 900 MHz to
become a mainstream spectrum choice for mobile
broadband using HSPA/HSPA+ (UMTS900) with
excellent propagation characteristics for wide area
coverage (in rural areas) and in-building penetration
(rural and urban). 100 UMTS900 networks are
commercially launched in 64 countries (GSA: HSPA
Operator commitments report, October 11th, 2015).
UMTS900 user devices are mainstream.

In addition to the above stated 17 LTE900


commercial
service
launches,
additional
developments regarding 900 MHz spectrum
allocations and usage for LTE systems are
indicated below (for full details per operator please
see GSAs Evolution to LTE report published on
January 25, 2016).

900 MHz spectrum is typically limited due to its use


for GSM, however using 900 MHz as an LTE band
is gaining traction amongst operators and the main
infrastructure vendors all offer LTE900 solutions.
17 operators have commercially launched LTE
using 900 MHz either as a single band system, or
as part of a multi-band deployment, as listed below:
Country
Australia
Czech Republic
Hong Kong (China)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia
Liechtenstein
Netherlands
Norway
Singapore
Slovenia
South Korea
Sweden
Sweden
Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan

LTE900 operator
Telstra
Vodafone
Smartone
Indosat Ooredoo
Telkomsel
XL Axiata
Swisscom
T-Mobile
Ice.net
Singtel
Telekom Slovenije
KT
Tele2
TeleNor
Ambit Microsystems
Chunghwa Telecom
Taiwan Star

Source: GSAs Evolution to LTE report January 25, 2016

With many GSM licences approaching expiry dates,


regulators increasingly allow technology neutrality
on renewal, or auction off returned spectrum with
technology neutrality licences.
Many operators are deploying or considering using
900 MHz for LTE deployments where feasible to
improve the user experience of mobile broadband
and efficiently use network and spectrum assets.
LTE-Advanced deployments is a key industry trend.
Carrier aggregation enables operators to efficiently
combine spectrum assets residing in different
bands, including 900 MHz, with various bandwidths,
even relatively small amounts, to increase spectrum
allocations and deliver even higher LTE speeds.

ALBANIA: In August 2014 regulator Electronic and


Postal Communications Authority AKEP approved the
refarming of GSM bands (900 MHz, 1800 MHz) for LTE.
ANGOLA: On December 18, 2013 Unitel demonstrated
LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation by combining 900
MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum on its live network
AUSTRALIA: In February 2013 Telstra announced plans
to deploy LTE in re-farmed 900 MHz spectrum some
sites are running now. In July 2013 Telstra demonstrated
carrier aggregation using 900 MHz and 1800 MHz
spectrum. In July 2014 Telstra announced plans to close
its 2G/GSM network by end 2016.
AUSTRIA: On July 28, 2014 RTR approved proposals by
the incumbent mobile operators to refarm their existing
GSM spectrum for 3G and 4G/LTE use.
3 Austria will gain additional 900 MHz spectrum in early
2016 which will be used for coverage enhancement.
BAHRAIN: Batelco, Viva and Zain received permits in
2013 to deploy LTE networks using 900 MHz
BELARUS: More 900 and 1800 MHz spectrum is
expected to be allocated.
BELGIUM: Telenet trialled LTE in 2010 and in June
2011 acquired 900, 1800, and 2100 MHz spectrum.
BULGARIA: 900 MHz is an option for LTE deployment.
COLOMBIA: MinTIC published the conditions for the
proposed auction of spectrum in the 700 MHz, 900 MHz,
1,900 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands. Comments were
required by June 12, 2015.
CROATIA: HAKOM launched a consultation into use of
900 MHz (and 1800 MHz) for LTE.
CYPRUS: PrimeTel acquired technology-neutral 900,
1800 and 2100 MHz spectrum.
DENMARK: Hi3G Denmark has been granted 900 and
1800 MHz spectrum, which could be used to deploy 2G,
3G or LTE technologies nationally.
ESTONIA: Tele2 may also deploy LTE in 450 MHz, 900
MHz, and 2.3 GHz spectrum in addition to 2.1 GHZ
presently in commercial use.
GERMANY: Regulator BNetz auctioned 270 MHz of 700,
900 and 1800 MHz spectrum in 2015. All three
incumbent operators acquired spectrum in these bands.

Telekom and Vodafone each obtained 20 MHz of 1.5


GHz TDD spectrum which can be combined with existing
LTE spectrum assets using carrier aggregation or could
be used in small cell solutions, or for LTE Broadcast.
GUATEMALA: Regulator SIT said suitable bands for LTE
include 900 MHz.

SINGAPORE: M1, Singtel and StarHub announced they


will close 2G/GSM services from April, 2017 with
spectrum to be refarmed for 3G/HSPA and 4G/LTE.
Operators rights to use 900 MHz expire in April 2017.
IDA plans to auction this spectrum and 700 MHz
(APT700). Incentives are proposed to encourage a new
player. Bidding is expected to take place in early 2016.
th

HUNGARY: In 2014 NMHH held an auction of 800 MHz,


900 MHz, 1800 MHz & 2.6 GHz spectrum. Results:
Magyar Telekom won 800, 900, 1800 MHz & 2.6
GHz
Vodafone won 800, 900 MHz & 2.6 GHz
Telenor won 800, 900 MHz & 2.6 GHz
DiGi (new market entrant) won 1800 MHz

On 28 July 2015 Singtel announced commercial launch


of LTE service using 900 MHz within a tri-band 337 Mbps
Category 9 LTE network

INDIA: A consultation on November 26, 2015 on possible


auction of 700, 800, 900, 1800 MHz, 2.1, 2.3, and 2.5
GHz. Comments were required by December 28, 2015.

SOUTH KOREA: In the area where KT provides 20 MHz


wideband LTE services, KT also provides 10 MHz
multicarrier service by bringing into use 10 MHz of 900
MHz band 8 spectrum. In addition KT is using Carrier
Aggregation to combine 10 MHz B3 and 10 MHz B8 in
the other area where 20 MHz wideband is not used. KT
plans to support 20 MHz B3 combined with 10 MHz B8,
subject to availability of UE terminals. KT commercially
launched 3-band 300 Mbps LTE-Advanced service in the
major areas of 85 cities with availability of commercial
Cat 6 compatible Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phones on
January 23, 2015. The LG G Plex2 Cat 6 phone was
offered from January 30, 2015. The 300 MBps service
had been available from December 28, 2014 for users
with non-commercial terminals to experience the tri-band
carrier aggregation performance. The service combines
10 MHz B1 + 20 MHz B3 + 10 MHz B8.

IRELAND: An auction by ComReg in 2012 concluded


with Hutchison 3, Meteor, Telefnica and Vodafone
each receiving 900 MHz spectrum (and 1800 MHz).
JAPAN: Softbank Mobile owns licences to operate
mobile systems in 2.1 GHz FDD (band 1), 1.5 GHz (band
11) and 900 MHz (band 8). LTE is launched in band 1.
LITHUANIA: Tele2 may deploy LTE in 900 MHz, 2.1 GHz
and 2.6 GHz spectrum in addition to its bands currently
used for LTE.
RRT is consulting on a proposed sale of 900 and 1800
MHz spectrum that incumbents can use until October 31,
2017. Comments were required by September 14, 2015.
MALAYSIA: MCMC
850/900/1800 MHz.

is

consulting

on

re-farming

MOLDOVA: Orange acquired additional spectrum for


LTE in 800 MHz and 900 MHz in November 2015.
Moldcell commercially launched LTE for corporate users
using 2.6 GHz on November 16, 2012. Commercial
service was extended to all customers on December 24,
2012. Moldcell acquired new spectrum licences for use
from November 6, 2014 continuing use of 900 MHz and
buying new technology-neutral band 3 & band 20
spectrum. Moldcell will abandon using 2.1 GHz and 2.6
GHz. Moldtelecom (Unite) is expected to receive new
900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum shortly.
NORWAY: Telenor, TeliaSonera and Telco Data each
won new 900 MHz spectrum in 2013. 900 MHz licences
currently allocated to Telenor and TeliaSonera expire in
2017. Nkom opened a consultation in June 2015 and
published the final conditions in October 2015 concerning
the planned sale of that 900 MHz spectrum (which would
be available for use from January 1, 2018) in 2016.
ROMANIA: Orange, Vodafone and Cosmote obtained
new 900 MHz spectrum. RCS & RDS plans to deploy
LTE900 MHz spectrum, but 3G is the current priorit.
RUSSIA: technology neutrality applies to the 900 MHz
band, following a similar earlier decision for 1800 MHz.

SLOVENIA: AKOS auctioned additional 900 MHz


spectrum in April 2014 to Si.mobil, Telekom Slovenije,
and Tumobil.

SPAIN: Vodafone plans to refarm 900 MHz for rural


mobile broadband coverage. Additional 900 MHz
spectrum was acquired by Vodafone, Telefonica and
Orange following an auction. Orange also intends to
soon bring into service refarmed 2.1 GHz, 900 MHz and
1,800 MHz spectrum for LTE.
THAILAND: Two 900 MHz licences were auctioned in
December 2015 and won by True Move and fixed
operator Jasmine (Jas Mobile), the latter planning to
enter the mobile market but subsequently failed to pay
for the licence by the deadline thus losing it by default.
TURKEY: BTK auctioned 390 MHz of 800, 900, 1800,
2100 & 2600 MHz LTE spectrum on August 26, 2015.
Avea, Turkcell and Vodafone acquired 900 MHz.
UK: operators are allowed to refarm 900 MHz for LTE
networks. A 3dB increase in maximum transmit power
when using 900 MHz spectrum is allowed.
UKRAINE: some operators are seeking technology
neutrality principles for 900 MHz to allow LTE.
URUGUAY: Antel paid for a reserved block of 900 MHz
spectrum following an aution in March 2013.
IMPORTANT: Technology neutral 900 MHz licences
have been granted in many countries. It is possible that
900 MHz will be used in LTE network deployments by
many more network operators.

LTE900 devices
962 LTE900 devices (around 22% of LTE devices)
including operator variants are announced.
Source:
GSAs Status of the LTE
Ecosystem report
February 11, 2016

All 962 LTE900 devices are


included in GSAs GAMBoD-LTE
database for study/analysis
Note: access to GAMBoD is available only to
qualified website users, which GSA define as:

There are 578 LTE900


smartphones which is
equivalent to over 60%
share of all LTE900
devices. 98 (i.e. over
10%)
of
LTE900
devices are tablet PCs.

registered site users who are employees of


the GSA Member companies
registered site users who are employees of
network operators (mobile or fixed)
registered site users who are employees of
Associate of GSA enterprises (see below)

In all cases, users must have registered on the GSA


website using their corporate email address.

GAMBoD access as an ASSOCIATE of GSA

LTE devices analysis with GAMBoD


GSAs database of 4,416 LTE user devices is
available to users of our GAMBoD analysis tool.
GAMBoD - GSA Analyzer for Mobile Broadband
Devices, is a unique search and analysis tool
developed by GSA for mobile broadband devices,
allowing searches of our devices databases by
supplier, form factor, features, peak downlink and
uplink speeds, and operating frequency. Results are
presented in list form, or in a spreadsheet or charts.
Charts may be inserted into documents or
presentations, subject to citing GSA as the source.
Visit www.gsacom.com/gambod
With GAMBoD-LTE search 4,416 LTE devices by:

Manufacturer name
Product model number or name
Form factor
FDD spectrum selector bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7,
8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 20, 21, 25, 28, 30 and 31.
TDD spectrum selector bands 38, 39, 40, 41,
42/43 and 44.
Support for Cat 4, 6, 9 and higher terminals
Support for VoLTE devices
Support for eMBMS (LTE Broadcast)
Support for 3G fallback technologies: HSPA,
or HSPA+, or DC-HSPA+, or EV-DO, or TDSCDMA

For non-Member or non-network operator


companies
GSA offers medium and large-size enterprises
including consultancies, analysts, manufacturers
(non-GSA members), test houses, etc. the
opportunity to become an Associate of GSA with
the main benefits of receiving a licence for its
employees worldwide to use the GAMBoD tools and
databases, and access to all GSA reports including
restricted reports. Associate of GSA is not a GSA
membership category.
The annual fee for an enterprise to subscribe as
an Associate of GSA on behalf of all its
employees is only GBP 2,500.00.
Regulatory authorities can also benefit by
subscribing as an Associate of GSA, thereby
gaining access to GAMBoD, which allows those
who are shaping policy to fully appreciate
developments, trends and the current status of the
devices ecosystem for mobile broadband services,
including 4G/LTE systems.
Benefits commence on receipt of payment. To apply
on behalf of your company to become an Associate
of GSA, thus enabling access for all of your
employees to GAMBoD, please send your
instructions to marketing@gsacom.com

Membership of GSA is open to any supplier of products, systems or services related to the mobile
industry and brings many benefits including access to GAMBoD. The range of benefits includes enhanced
discussion, networking and influencing opportunities on the key industry topics, and unique
promotional/visibility opportunities for your company name, capabilities, positioning and messages.
For information about benefits of Membership and annual fee, email to marketing@gsacom.com

ABOUT GSA
GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) represents GSM/EDGE/WCDMA-HSPA/HSPA+, LTE/LTEAdvanced and future 5G suppliers. GSA brings together a global industry community of telecoms
professionals through its website, reports, information papers and practical activities to inform, influence,
educate, explain and promote the opportunities enabled by mobile broadband systems. The GSA website
www.gsacom.com has over 70,000 registered users for knowledge gathering and information sharing of
key facts, trends and analysis, and over 26,200 connections on GSAs social network platforms LinkedIn,
Twitter and Facebook.
Over 1 million GSA reports, presentations, information papers, maps, charts and other resources were
downloaded from www.gsacom.com in less than five years.
Register for free downloads of reports, information papers, maps, charts, etc. at http://gsacom.com/register/
RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING sign in to http://www.gsacom.com and follow the links to:
o Evolution to LTE report (restricted to GSA Member companies, network operators and Associate
of GSA organizations)
o Status of the LTE Ecosystem report
Free report - sign in to http://www.gsacom.com and follow the link to the latest issue

CONTACTS and LINKS with GSA


GSA Secretariat: Email info@gsacom.com
GSA website: http://www.gsacom.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/gsacom
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Global-mobile-Suppliers-Association-GSA/123462771012551
News/updates RSS Feed: www.gsacom.com/rss/gsanews.php4
GSA LinkedIN group: www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2313721
LTE TDD LinkedIN group: www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3978061
LTE User Devices LinkedIN Group www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4146472

NOTES:
Errors & Omissions Excepted
Comments to this report or updates by email please to info@gsacom.com


GSA Global mobile Suppliers Association