474 new LTE user devices were announced in the past year. Smartphones remain the largest LTE device category with 4 times as many products released compared to the landscape in April 2012. LTE connected tablets is another fast growing segment.
The underlying research by GSA for the report considered devices that are designed to operate on the FDD and/or TDD modes of the LTE system and their main characteristics, and identified the fallback technologies included for when subscribers move outside LTE coverage (i.e. access to HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSPA+, EV-DO, or TD-SCDMA systems). 562 LTE devices can operate on HSPA networks, including 259 products that incorporate 42 Mbps DC-HSPA+ capabilities, while 215 LTE devices can also operate on EV-DO systems.
Most of the 821 LTE devices operate in the FDD mode. However, 166 devices can operate using the LTE TDD mode, with band 38 (2.6 GHz) and band 40 (2.3 GHz) having the largest number. LTE TDD devices are available in all form factors including smartphones, dongles, routers, portable hotspots, embedded modules, and mobile tablets. In the report GSA calls on semiconductor and device manufacturers to support the many operators who are deploying or planning LTE TDD systems in globally available 3.5 GHz spectrum (bands 42, 43) to ensure a good choice and timely availability of user devices.
GSA recently confirmed that 1800 MHz (band 3) is the most widely used spectrum for LTE networks in commercial service, followed by 2600 MHz (band 7) and 800 MHz (band 20). The frequency band support in LTE devices aligns with this trend (several products support more than one band):
2600 MHz = 280 devices
1800 MHz = 233 devices
800 MHz = 207 devices
Alan Hadden, President of the GSA said: “A user with a dual band 1800/2600 MHz LTE FDD device could potentially use it on around 100 LTE networks in more than 55 countries i.e. 83% of markets where LTE service is commercially available today.”