Abstract KTa 1 − x Nb x O 3 (KTN) thin films were grown by pulsed laser deposition on sapphire and MgO substrates. Their structural and high frequency dielectric characteristics evidenced the strong influence of the substrate and suggested possible KTN/MgO interdiffusion that could be responsible for the lower dielectric losses obtained on this substrate. Both undoped and 6% MgO-doped KTN thin films were then grown on sapphire. Dielectric measurements performed at 12.5 GHz by a resonant cavity perturbation method evidenced reduction of losses by MgO-doping. Loss tangent (tan δ) was reduced by a factor of 3 in comparison with undoped films grown on sapphire.