Survey tracks rise of 4G LTE


The inexorable march of next-generation 4G LTE devices and networks continues across the globe, according to a new study released by an association of international mobile gear vendors. The General Services Administration included 4G LTE services in its recently announced Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative Wireless Blanket Purchase Agreements aimed at providing uniform rate plans and device options to federal agencies.

LTE stands for "long-term evolution."

The "Status of the LTE Ecosystem" study released  Aug. 25 by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (which also calls itself GSA)  said more than a hundred manufacturers have announced more than a thousand LTE-enabled user devices. Those devices include LTE modules, tablet devices, notebook computers, PC cards, wireless hotspots, smartphones, routers, dongles and cameras.

LTE 4G phones, devices and services are fast becoming the go-to high-speed wireless options across the globe. In the United States, Verizon Wireless claims that as of June 27, its 4G LTE network is available to more than 298 million people in 500 markets, representing more than 99 percent of the companies' 3G footprint. AT&T, which also claims to be the country's largest LTE provider, has said it can serve 225 million potential customers with its LTE network. AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega said on a second-quarter earnings call in late June that his company expects to cover almost 270 million potential customers and 400 domestic markets by the end of 2013.

The study said there were currently 202 LTE networks launched in 77 countries, with 10 service providers launching LTE services in the past two months.

The study showed a surging wave of LTE devices using those networks, with 111 manufacturers announcing 1,064 LTE-enabled user devices so far. It added that 647 new LTE user devices have been announced since July 2012, with the number of manufacturers increasing by 66 percent in the period.

According to the association, smartphones continue as the largest LTE device category, with more than four times as many products compared with a year ago. LTE-connected tablets and personal hotspots are also fast-growing segments.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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