News: RTC in 2017

GSMA has just recently published the final numbers for 2017. As expected the last year we’ve seen less 4G deployments than in 2016.

4G Deployments in 2017

The only exception was the RCS. (Btw. GSMA released its Universal Profile Version 2.0 for Advanced RCS Messaging.)

From the population coverage point of view the last year meant a great step forward. Although many developing countries have been still more focused on 3G (4G coverage is on average 35% there), the overall number of 4G coverage increased significantly.

Population Coverage, © GSMA Intelligence 2017

The main reasons for that are:

  • China has achieved 99% coverage in less than three years and it is now 4G-first
  • In India Reliance Jio has beem driving the technological move towards 4G and other operators are following

Technology Migration© GSMA Intelligence 2017

GSMA forcasts the proportion of 4G connections worldwide to almost double between 2016 and 2020 from 23% to 41%.

4G Forecast, © GSMA Intelligence 2017

For the early adopters the 4G is already an established technology and they are now interested in 5G. We’ve got the first 5G specification in Rel-15. 5G is going to be a next big thing. However that doesn’t mean that we’re finished with 4G technology or even 4G deployments! At least right now it seems that (again LTE-based) 5G will be more an evolution of 4G. GSMA predicts that between 2016 and 2025, there will be a net 3.6 billion 4G users added, versus expected 1.2 billion 5G users.

3G, 4G, 5G Forecast, © GSMA Intelligence 2017

5G has become a hot topic, and in the 2018 I’m sure we’ll see some new trial deployments.

5G Forecast, © GSMA Intelligence 2017

The main driver of 5G now seems to be APAC.

5G – Google trends


2017 was also very important for mobile IoT as we’ve deployed the first LTE-M and NB-IoT networks.

GSMA IoT Map, © GSMA 2017

Sigfox and LoRAWan networks are still relevant, but the new LTE-based technologies are gaining more attention.

And what is your guess for 2018?


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