According to Informa WCIS stats, as of June 2012, there were nearly 28 million LTE customers worldwide, but that’s set to increase significantly by the end of this year and a lot of that will be down to the Asia region.
Here in London the big LTE news yesterday was that the newly renamed EE network would be launching a 4G network to be ready in time for Christmas boosted by the iPhone 5 which is being launched this evening. But it’s not just EE that has reason to be cheerful that the world’s most hyped smartphone will support LTE 1800. In Singapore, local operator Starhub is also poised to launch LTE1800, with September 19th scheduled to be the first day of operation.
Indeed, LTE is becoming ever more established all over the Asia Pacific region. In Australia, Telstra launched LTE1800 at the end of last year, while Optus joined the LTE party this year too. Japan has over 3.5 million LTE customers with most of those on NTT DoCoMo’s LTE2100 network.
India, the Philippines and Hong Kong all have live LTE networks but the biggest area of LTE growth in Asia is South Korea. According to Informa WCIS stats over 65 per cent of the market uses an LTE network, with more than 7 million customers. Over 2.5 million of these are on LG U+ but only recently SK Telecom announced that it now has five million LTE customers, which considering it only launched its LTE network in July 2011 is pretty good going. As with many other, the network operates at 1800MHz, and it has been reported that SK Telecom was one of the major lobbyists to Apple to ensure the iPhone 5 would support its LTE network.
SK Telecom is also pushing the boundaries by becoming one of the first operators in the world to launch VoLTE, which not only keeps voice calls within the IP only confines of its LTE network but also has enabled it to launch HD Voice, brining better voice call quality along with it.
With the iPhone 5 and the ever expanding LTE numbers in the region, the LTE Asia 2012 conference, taking place next week in Singapore is guaranteed to be an event buzzing with essential knowledge and insight. With every major operator in the region attending, it’s set to be an unmissable event for anyone in the region’s 4G industry.
Regional operators attending include:
- NTT DoCoMo
- Packet One
- SK Telecom
If you’re not already signed up, there’s still time to ensure your presence by signing up via the event website. Looking forward to seeing you there!