Out of 470 LTE commitments tracked by ABI Research, 193 have gone commercial. Over the next two years, another 123 network commitments are expected to do likewise. Additionally, ABI Research is currently tracking 69 LTE-TDD commitments.
“By 2018, LTE deployments should deliver population coverage of 57 percent (4.2 billion) and 31 percent (2.3 billion) in legacy WCDMA and CDMA2000 markets respectively. Significantly, LTE-TDD coverage should achieve 49 percent population coverage by the end of the five year period,” said Jake Saunders, Vice President – Core Forecasting at ABI Research.
These coverage targets will be driven by macrocells and small cells. By 2018, the number of LTE macrocell base stations will reach 2.43m to achieve the population coverage targets. Small cells are an integral part of the LTE operator’s network strategy. As a result, ABI Research estimates that 18,000 LTE outdoor small cells will ship in 2013, and will expand to 986,000 by 2018.