Last week, FierceBroadbandWireless published an interesting study from Maravedis, outlining their projections for the growth in LTE adoption over the next twelve months.


Amongst other predictions, the study forecasts that the worldwide LTE subscriber base will reach 54 million by the end of 2012, 46% of whom will be in North America and 36% in the Asia-Pacific region. LTE networks are expected to be up and running in more than ten countries, including China, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. China Mobile expects to launch the first truly large-scale deployment this year which will drive major economies of scale in handsets.


Maravedis notes a significant slowdown in mobile WiMAX subscribers. With 28 million users at the end of 2012, the mobile WiMAX subscriber base is expected to decline as major mobile WiMAX operators migrate their networks to LTE. Operators forecasted to make WiMAX-to-LTE transitions include Clearwire (US), Yota (Russia) and P1 (Malaysia).


The study indicates that there will be 160 commercial LTE deployments in service by the end of 2012, an increase of more than 100% from the 61 in service at the end of 2011.


Maravedis anticipates that Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia-Siemens Networks will continue to be the leading infrastructure vendors chosen by LTE operators during 2012, with Nokia-Siemens Networks receiving the largest share of contracts awarded.


Cloud RAN is identified as one of the key technologies for 2012 (see an earlier Forum post on this topic “Cloud RAN Outlook: Fair or Cloudy?”). Vendors such as Ericsson have begun to publicly announce their success in deploying cloud RAN equipment, while processor suppliers such as TI have announced specialized SoCs. At the same time, Alcatel-Lucent has demonstrated their small remote radio head solutions at several trade shows.


This contents of this report mirrors the activity and growth that we at 6WIND are seeing within our customer base. Our high-performance packet processing software is already deployed in a large number of LTE networks, some of which are in trials while others are in full commercial operation. We see strong interest from our OEM customers in the challenges of increasing network capacity, designing for maximum scalability, reducing cost and accelerating time-to-market.


What are the key trends that you’re seeing in the LTE market? What do you see as the major trends and challenges for 2012?