Survey: 75% of mobile operators to launch LTE networks

According to a study released on Monday by BroadSoft, Inc, VoIP communication provider, more than 42 % of global Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are currently deploying or trialing LTE, and an additional 34.2 % plan LTE network rollouts in the future. The survey, conducted by analyst firm MobileSQUARED on behalf of BroadSoft, identified strategies and perspectives of leading mobile operators worldwide about LTE, Unified Communications and Rich Communications Suite services in an all-IP environment.

According to BroadSoft, of the 40 network operators interviewed, approximately 75% said they plan to launch an LTE network in the future, with 42% already deploying or trialing LTE. One requirement for monetizing these high speed networks is the availability of LTE handsets. Over one-third of those surveyed believe LTE handsets will be readily available in 2012, and another third believe LTE handsets will be available by 2013.

The GSM Association recently recognized LTE as the fastest developing mobile technology ever, and with it comes the emergence of a strong UC offering. These services are expected to enable the majority of mobile operators to leverage their significant assets to overcome the threat posed by Over-the-Top (OTT) services.

According to Broadsoft, when operators were asked to choose the three most important elements of UC and RCS, "data sharing" topped the list, followed by "video conferencing" and standard "telephony."

Of the operators surveyed, 92% stated that they are either currently or are planning to offer UC services for enterprise customers and 83% currently or plan to offer RCS services for consumers.

"We believe the introduction of these innovative communication services will enable MNOs to radically change the communication experience,” said Scott Hoffpauir, chief technology officer at BroadSoft. “We expect to see voice become high-definition (HD) voice, video calling become a standard feature and text messaging evolve to content messaging, with the sharing of pictures and videos, and all in real-time."

Individual survey results are anonymous, but the participating operators represent most of the major operating groups -- including 3 Group, Etisalat, Maxis Communications, MTS, NTT DoCoMo, Orange/France Telecom, Orascom, QTel, Reliance Communications, Singapore Telecom, T-Mobile/Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica O2, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Telstra, Tigo, Turkcell, Vodafone, Wataniya Telecom and Zain.

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