Asia Pacific mobile operators which till recently were no where in reckoning as far as the comparison with European and North Americans counterparts in terms of service development is concerned, are now fast embracing 4G LTE technology, according to a latest ABI research.
Bharti Airtel which becomes the first service provider in India to have launched 4G service in Kolkata has prominently found mention in the report as lading the pack in India. Over all China, India, Singapore and Malaysia are front runners in the region.
“Out of 110 networks, 10 operators (9%) have commercial 4G LTE networks up and running. Another 58 (53%) either have specific plans to roll out LTE or are conducting trials” the research said.
“We estimate total Asia-Pacific mobile capital expenditure to reach US$53.3 billion by the end of 2012,” says Jake Saunders, vice president of forecasting. “62% is still very much earmarked for radio access network deployment. Other key investment areas include EPC and gateway upgrades to the core network at 9%, as well as improving in-building wireless coverage into dense urban centers at 5.7%.”
In China, 4G licenses have yet to be issued, but that has not stopped China Mobile from making plans. In 2Q-2012, China Mobile announced that it had completed a six city TD-LTE trial. The 655 million subscriber operator plans to ramp up its TD-LTE base station count to over 20,000 TD-LTE base stations by December and 200,000 by 2013. China Unicom is focusing on accelerating its 3G network build out, optimizing 2G network coverage, and expediting indoor coverage. China Telecom is focused on implementing telecom cloud and value-added services projects.
Heavy RAN investment has been taking place in India. A number of operators are jockeying for position in a very competitive marketplace. On April 10, Bharti Airtel became the first operator to launch 4G LTE services in India, in Kolkata. Bharti Airtel hopes to launch 4G services in Bangalore before June 2012. Equipment spend is not just occurring in 4G. The Indian operator, Idea, has continued to roll out 2,270 2G cell sites and 1,176 3G cell sites in the past year.
Southeast Asia has seen a strong commitment to 4G, with commercial networks up and running in Malaysia (likely WIMAX over LTE), Singapore, and the Philippines. ABI Research’s study, said Asia CapEx, Core & Radio Access Network Infrastructure Forecasts.