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1800MHz spectrum key to global success of LTE services, GSA study shows

November 16, 2011: A new report from GSA – the Global mobile Suppliers Association, demonstrates the strong appeal of using 1800 MHz spectrum for mobile broadband. It shows from practical, economic and business perspectives why 1800 MHz will emerge as a prime band for LTE deployments in virtually all regions of the world, and be important for international roaming.

The report “Embracing the 1800MHz opportunity: Driving mobile forward with LTE in the 1800MHz band” was prepared for GSA by Innovation Observatory and benefits from the insights and experiences contributed by several GSA member companies and pioneer LTE1800 network operators. The report was sponsored by CSL Limited, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, Qualcomm, StarHub and Telstra.

Operators in all regions except North America are deploying or trialling LTE in 1800MHz spectrum, and operators in Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region have launched commercial LTE services in this band.

Alan Hadden, President of the GSA, said: “This report provides the clearest signals to investors, policy-makers and all stakeholders about the expanding opportunities being driven by the global interest in LTE1800, backed by at least 23 firm deployment commitments. Operators should note that device availability is improving rapidly. However, device vendors need to accelerate the availability of their LTE products for all segments and include operation in 1800 MHz to avoid limiting the development of the market.”

To illustrate the dynamics of the various investment options, the report presents a hypothetical business case for a mid-sized mobile operator, examining the cost for that operator of deploying a national network based on various combinations of mobile broadband technology.

Key conclusions of the report include:

  • Providing initial widespread coverage with LTE in the 1800MHz band can be as much as 60% cheaper than covering the same area with LTE using higher frequency bands
  • Operators will typically deploy LTE across a range of spectrum bands in order to maximise coverage and capacity, and to optimise their cost structures
  • Deployment of LTE 1800MHz can mean a faster time to market
  • Where LTE has been deployed in another band, deploying additionally in 1800MHz spectrum can mean improved geographic or indoor coverage at lower cost
  • 1800MHz is a prime band for LTE deployment in virtually all regions of the world, and is likely to be an important enabler for international roaming
  • Vendors need to develop multi-mode, multi-band handsets, with capability to operate in 1800MHz as well as other LTE bands and on other networks; specific requirements are likely to vary by region
  • In order to realise the benefits of LTE 1800MHz, regulators need to accelerate efforts to enable refarming of spectrum in the 1800MHz band. This is underway, but regulators should redouble their efforts to remove barriers as swiftly as possible

The full report is available initially to registered site users from GSA member organizations and network operators.


The business case assumes in all cases the operator has already deployed HSPA Release 5 on a near-national basis (90% geographic coverage). The operator then adds additional capacity via one of four methods:

  • Building out an LTE1800 network – starting in hotspot areas, to reach near-national capacity by end of year five
  • Building out an LTE2600 network – starting in hotspot areas, to reach near-national capacity by end of year five
  • Upgrading the HSPA+ network to Release 7 (64 QAM) – starting in hotspot areas, and doing this on a near-nationwide basis by the end of year five
  • Upgrading the HSPA+ network to Release 8 (DC-HSPA and 64 QAM) – starting in hotspot areas, and doing this on a near-nationwide basis by the end of year five


GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) represents GSM/EDGE/WCDMA-HSPA/LTE suppliers, providing reports, facts, analysis and information explaining market developments and trends. GSA-organized seminars facilitate enhanced dialog between operators, members and developer communities.

GSA member organizations: Aeroflex • AnyDATA Inc • Avvasi • Bytemobile • Ericsson • Huawei • inCode • mimoOn • Nokia • Nokia Siemens Networks • Qualcomm • Renesas Mobile • Sony Ericsson • SpiderCloud Wireless • ST-Ericsson • Talking Eye • Telcordia Technologies • Velocent Systems

GSA website:
News/updates RSS Feed:
GSA LinkedIN group:
LTE1800 LinkedIN Group:
LTE TDD LinkedIN Group:
LTE User Devices LinkedIN group:
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GSA Secretariat

Members: Alcatel-Lucent · Cobham Wireless, formerly Aeroflex · CommAgility · Ericsson · Expway · Huawei · inCode · Nokia · Qualcomm · SpiderCloud Wireless ·
Associate: Analysys Mason · CATR (China Academy of Telecommunication Research of MIIT) · Philips · Redline Communications · Reliance Jio Infocomm · Rohde & Schwarz ·


Last Updated: December 2, 2015