Go Figure: LTE Discrepancies

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the industry’s main opportunity every year to trumpet the achievements of mobile communications, great as these undoubtedly are. Indeed it has long been our belief that mobile phones are right up there with the Honda 125cc moped and Penicillin as technologies having the greatest transformative effect on the lives of people in the developing world.

But inevitably MWC provides a platform for company public relations teams to get carried away with their own hype. Looking at two key press announcements from the two leading Chinese infrastructure vendors I was struck by discrepancies in their figures.

According to Huawei, there are 49 commercial LTE networks launched globally and 23 of them are using Huawei's end-to-end SingleRAN LTE solution. Huawei claims GSA (the Global mobile Supplier Association) support for these numbers.

So how do you square this with rival ZTE’s claim that it has won 30 commercial LTE contracts globally? 49 less 23 is 26! There may of course be some debate as to what are trials and what are commercial; ZTE claims to have LTE trials in cooperation with more than 100 operators around the globe.

Of course all this ignores one or two other companies you might have heard of such as Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent, both of which are no slouches when it comes to installing LTE networks, or indeed issuing hyped press releases. Ericsson claims 39 networks in 21 countries on 5 continents. Alcatel Lucent meanwhile claims to have been selected by more than 20 customers for commercial deployments.

So let’s see – that now makes 49+30+39+20 commercial LTE deployments. I make that 138. Still, at DevelopingTelecoms.com we’re used to this – our editor was rather amused at the number of operators claiming to have launched the first commercial LTE network in the Middle East...

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