Despite the fact that the development of fourth generation of networks is still in progress, international organizations, equipment manufacturers, operators and research centers are working under the development and creation of the next generation of networks – 5G. J’son & Partners Consulting presents main results of the research “4G LTE networks. The perspectives and development of fifth generation of mobile networks (5G)”.


The peak of LTE networks development in the world was in 2012, at the time the number of commercial 4G networks increased threefold – from 46 till 148. The decrease in growth rates was obvious in 2013 (till 78%), 33% is an expected rate in 2014. As a result, number of commercial LTE networks will reach 350 vs 279 in 1Q2014 (Illustration 1). As of 6th May, 2014, 288 commercial LTE networks have been launched in 104 countries, according to GSA data. Main market drivers are price deduction on chipsets and on subscribers’ devices with LTE support; the expansion of its range, growth of ARPU due to the increasing consumption and additional opportunities for implementation of services that require wide throughput band.



At the end of 2013, around 150-230 mln. of LTE subscribers were counted in the world (according to various sources). Half of 4G connections were in North America (mainly due to the expand LTE networks in USA), 39% in developed countries of Asia-Pacific region (the largest networks constructed in Japan and South Korea).


The development of LTE networks in Russia


LTE networks have been launched in 58 Russian regions (as of April 2014), mainly in the band 7 (2600 Mhz). There is the second band by popularity for LTE networks in the world (after 1800 MHz), 26.7 % of all commercial networks are launched there. At the end of 2013 over 7.5 thousand base stations of radio mobile telephone communication (RMTC) with LTE standard are presented in Russia, according to Federal Service for  Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, IT and Mass Communications (Illustration 2).



Megafon is the leader by number of regions with commercial LTE networks. As of April 2014, operator has been providing 4G services in 53 regions. The coverage zone has 40% of country’s population, with LTE network that is available in 200 cities with population over 20 thousand inhabitants. According to operator’s data, the traffic in 4G network has grown for 4.5 times (1st April 2013 – 31st March 2014), and its share in the total traffic volume has reached 39%. At the end of April 2014, LTE subscriber base of Megafon was about 1.4 mln. people.



According to J’son & Partners Consulting, LTE subscriber base in Russia was around 2 mln. at the end of 1Q2014, that is around 1% of the global 4G base.


The development of LTE networks followed the optimistic development scenario, developed by J’son & Partners Consulting in 2011 – 1 mln. of 4G subscribers at the end of 2013 and 3 mln. at the end of 2014 (Illustration 3). The launch of 4G networks in Russia had in general a positive impact on operational operators’ indices. Annual growth rates of traffic and operators’ revenue from data transfer in regions, where LTE networks had been launched over 1 year ago, in average, higher (1,5 times) in comparison with indices in regions, where LTE networks have been launched relatively not so long ago. According to J’son & Partners Consulting, the annual average growth rate of traffic and revenue from data transfer in regions with currently operating 4G networks has increased for 61% and 31% accordingly in the period: 3Q2012 – 3Q2013. Same indices in the regions where LTE networks had been launched till the end of 1Q2014 showed only 47% and 20%.



LTE-Advanced networks


According to GSA, 7 operators in the world, including Russian Megafon have launched on 6th May 2014 LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) with Carrier Aggregation (CA) in commercial use. In the moment of network’s launch, LTE-Advanced Cat.6 by Megafon that operated inside the Sadovoe Circle in Moscow, had provided the highest data transfer speed towards the subscriber in the world = till 300 Mbyte/sec (Table 1).



Several operators are also in the process of testing and implementation of LTE-A technology on their networks. Due to the aggregation of three carrier band (per 20 MHz each) the speed of 450 Mbps will be reached for data download in the nearest future.



5G Networks



Main prerequisites for 5G appearance are vast growth of connected devices and data traffic, large amount of new requirements from mobile broadband access users, such as high speed of data transfer, shorter waiting time, high security, energy saving and price.


In particular, according to NSN forecasts, 5G networks should be able to manage 10000-times traffic growth till 2013 vs 2010. The expected number of connected devices in smart cities, houses and grids will overstep the number of users’ devices in 10-100 times. It will be necessary to provide the variety of services, scenarios of use and requirements for around 50 bln.devices.


5G networks are facing a task to satisfy the needs of different groups of customers (private and corporate) that use different services and technologies. Main requirements for 5G networks – minimal delay in data transfer, high peak speed, low cost of terminals (including M2M) and long term work of devices without recharge, high security and low consumption of energy (Illustration 4):


  • Data transfer speed: from 1Gbyte/sec for HD video support and apps of virtual reality and 10 Gbyte/sec for cloud services support;
  • Time of delay and response: less than 1 millisecond for providing management in real time and apps/communications that connect to transport vehicles;
  • Time for re-connection: till 10 milliseconds between different technologies of mobile access for provision a non-stop service;
  • Large networks’ capacity and readiness: today there are around 5 bln.subscribers in current mobile networks (mostly “alive” subscribers), in the nearest future they will be joined by billions of apps and dozens or even hundreds of billions devices;
  • Energy consumption: consumption per 1 byte should be decreased in 1000 times for increase of battery work of connected device.


In general, 5G standard is an integrated range of technologies that solve wide range of problems – from intellectual energy counters, automobiles and connected house devices till industry objects. In this view, it’s unlikely that the approach “one technology for everyone” can be effective for provision of fast growing and varies demands on behalf of business, society and stand-alone users.



According to one of definitions, 5G is a set of integrated radio access technologies, that do not replace current technologies of previous generations, but more likely add to them new solutions that aimed at particular scenarios and definite targets. The architecture of 5G will provide cooperation of radio access technologies on which network of new generation will be constructed and will be able to provide services at any time and any place. 



In general, the concept of 5G development is at the early stage of research. It is expected that additional band for mobile communications (IMT) of new generation will be defined in 2015 at the Global conference of Radio Communication (WRC-1). Afterwards, the International Telecommunication Union will define requirements for new 5G standard that will become a base for development of new equipment. The deployment of 5G networks will happen not earlier than in 2020 (Illustration 5).



5G networks will provide new opportunities and at the end will impact the social and economic life at least in the following spheres:


  • eHealth;
  • Connected homes;
  • Safe transport;
  • Smart grids;
  • Entertainment sphere.



Nowadays operators and manufacturers of equipment continue research in the 5G sphere. Japan mobile operator NTT DoCoMo that has been researching this direction since 2010, in May 2014 announced the cooperation with six vendors - Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia and Samsung. In order to reach high capacity of 5G networks, relatively free bands (over 6GHz) is being planned to use. Small active radius in high bands is initiating the development of high density and high capacity networks; on which 5G is mainly aimed.


At the end of 2013, European commission has formed an association: 5G Public-Private Partnership Association (5GPPP). The main task will be to fasten works on 5G standards. As for now, there are 35 participants, among them such companies as: Alcatel-Lucent, CEA-LETI, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia Solutions and Networks, Sequans and Telefonica. The original budget of association on the coming 7 years (2014 – 2020) was estimated in 700 mln. euro. According to announcement made by Neelie KROES, Vice-president of Digital Agenda program in European Commission on Mobile World Congress 2014, the expected investments in R&D in 5G have already been risen fivefold (over 3 bln.EUR now).


A suggestion about the necessity of development of national concept and 5G development strategy was forwarded to the Ministry of Communication in Russian Federation. In March 2014, the Ministry drafted a program project on standardization in telecommunications with perspectives till 2020.


According to J’son & Partners Consulting, Russia needs its own policy in the sphere of 5G networks’ development for middle and long term, attracting the maximum number of participants – national manufacturers of equipment, venture funds, researching companies, large industry consumers etc.


You can also watch video interviews about 5G perspectives from Mobile World Congress 2014 on the new video portal JSON.TV:



Detailed results of the research are presented in the full version of the Report: «4G LTE networks. The perspectives and development of fifth generation of mobile networks (5G)» (over 120 р.)


Content of the research



1. Development of LTE networks in Russia and in the world

  1.1. In the world

  1.2. In Russia

      1.2.1. LTE frequencies

      1.2.2. LTE subscribers’ base in Russia

      1.2.3. Currently operating networks

      1.2.4. Planned networks

      1.2.5. Investments in LTE infrastructure

  1.3. Subscribers’ devices

      1.3.1. On the largest LTE markets in the world

      1.3.2. In Russia


   USB-modems and Wi-Fi routers


      1.3.3. Achievements and plans for chipset’s manufacturers

  1.4. Influence of LTE on traffic data transfer dynamic and revenues

2. Forecasts and perspectives

  2.1. LTE Advanced

      2.1.1. About technology

      2.1.2. Currently operating networks

      2.1.3. Solutions presented on MWC

     2.1.4. Planned networks

  2.2. Fifth generation of mobile communication 

      2.2.1. Main requisites for 5G networks appearance

      2.2.2. Definition and field of use of 5G networks

      2.2.3. History of 5G appearance and road map

      2.2.4. Financing of researches about 5G

      2.2.5. Frequency band for 5G networks

      2.2.6. 5G perspectives in different regions


   South Korea and China



      2.2.7. Plans and vendors’ views




   Nokia Solutions & Networks (NSN)



Conclusion and recommendations


3. Annex

  3.1. LTE frequencies of Russian operators

  3.2. Currently operating RES GSM, IMT 2000/UMTS and LTE, 2Q 2013-1Q 2014

  3.3. Commercial LTE networks in Russia

  3.4. Planned LTE networks in Russia

  3.5. Smartphones supporting Russian LTE networks

  3.6. USB-modems supporting LTE in Russia

  3.7. Wi-Fi routers supporting LTE in Russia

  3.8. Tablets PC supporting LTE in Russia

  3.9. Commercial LTE networks in USA, Japan, South Korea and Australia

      3.9.1. Commercial LTE networks in USA

      3.9.2. Commercial LTE networks in Japan

      3.9.3. Commercial LTE networks in South Korea

      3.9.4. Commercial LTE networks in Australia

  3.10. Full list of commercial LTE networks

  3.11. LTE-Advanced networks

  3.12. List of companies mentioned in the report


List of illustrations

Illustration 1. Number of LTE networks launched in commercial use, 2009-2014

Illustration 2. Number of LTE FDD networks launched in commercial use, by bands, 2014

Illustration 3. Share of LTE networks launched in commercial use, by regions, 2013 (inside) and 2017 (outside)

Illustration 4. LTE subscribers’ base, mln. 2010-2013

Illustration 5. Share of LTE subscribers by regions, 2013 (inside) and 2017 (outside)

Illustration 6. Shares and number of LTE subscribers, mln. people, by regions, 2013

Illustration 7 Top-10 operators by number of LTE subscribers, November 2013

Illustration 8. Volume of LTE frequency in band 2500-2690 MHz by operators  

Illustration 9. Forecast of LTE subscribers’ base, mln.people, 2013-2018

Illustration 10. Currently operating RES LTE, 2Q2013-1Q2014

Illustration 11. Number of BS LTE in Russia constructed in 2013, by bands

Illustration 12. Number of BS LTE in Russia, 2011-2013

Illustration 13. Number of BS LTE in Russia, 2013

Illustration 13. Number and shares of RES LTE by Russian regions, April 2014

Illustration 14. Number of announced devices with LTE support in the world, 2011-2013

Illustration 15. Number of LTE devices, by bands

Illustration 16. Number of LTE certified devices that support several bands simultaneously, 2011 and 2012

Illustration 17. Frequency bands of LTE in different world regions

Illustration 18. Number of devices supporting LTE1800

Illustration 19. Number of LTE certified devices, March – August 2013

Illustration 20. Number of LTE-TDD devices, by type, 2014

Illustration 21. Forecast of LTE-FDD and LTE-TDD subscribers’ base, 2011-2017

Illustration 22. Forecast of LTE-Advanced subscribers’ base by world regions in 2018

Illustration 23. Main prerequisites for 5G networks construction

Illustration 24. Growth of traffic in mobile data transfer networks in the world, 2010-2030

Illustration 25. Growth of traffic in mobile data transfer networks, 2010-2030

Illustration 26. Social and technological evolution in the next 10 years

Illustration 27. Target features of 5G networks

Illustration 28. 5G definition by Ericsson

Illustration 29. 5G definition by NSN

Illustration 30. Main spheres of 5G networks use

Illustration 31. List of participants of METIS syndicate

Illustration 32. Road map 5G by Huawei

Illustration 33. Road map 5G by NSN

Illustration 34. Main components of 5G technologies

Illustration 35. Band and design of improved local network

Illustration 36. Architecture of 5G networks

Illustration 37. Available bands in perspective frequencies 10-100 GHz and coverage


List of tables

Table 1. Licensing obligations of LTE:  timeline for LTE coverage in bands: 791-862, 2500-2690, 720-750 and 761-791 MHz

Table 2. Number of regions where LTE network has been launched in commercial use (actual data on 1Q2014 and forecast on 2014 – 2015)

Table 3. Potential 4G/LTE market players

Table 4. LTE construction projects in Russia

Table 5. Support of LTE frequency bands and different wireless technologies on the level of chipsets

Table 6. Yearly growth rates of data transfer traffic and revenues of Megafon in regions where LTE was launched before 3Q2012 (included*)

Table 7. Yearly growth rate of data transfer traffic and revenue of Big 3 operators in regions where LTE networks hadn’t been launched till 1Q2014

Table 8. Peak speed of data transfer and spectral efficiency in LTE and LTE-Advanced

Table 9. Average number of spectral efficiency and throughput capacity on the boundary of cell in LTE and LTE-Advanced

Table 10. Main parameters of LTE-Advanced networks that had been launched in commercial use by South-Korean operators

Table 11. Financing of 5G researches

Table 12. Frequency band for 5G networks.


List of companies mentioned in the report





Vainah Telecom




Bouygues Telecom







SK Telecom

Osnova Telecom


Smart Communications






Telkom Mobile









Belarusian cloud technologies