Worldwide 4G LTE Adoption Reaches One Billion

Ovum predicts the number of active LTE subscriptions will reach 3.62 billion by 2020

There are now more than one billion active LTE subscriptions, according to new figures from Ovum, with connections expected to reach 3.62 billion by 2020.

Five countries – China, the US, Japan, South Korea and the UK – account for three quarters of the current total, with China alone contributing 35 percent and the USA 21 percent.

Britain’s share currently stands at three percent, but this will fall to two percent by the turn of the decade as adoption in India, Russia, Indonesia, Brazil and Germany among others increases.

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Rapid 4G adoption

4G (c) De Mango, Shutterstock 2013One estimate in March from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) claimed there were half a billion 4G users, suggesting rapid adoption of the technology.

“Reaching 1 billion LTE subscriptions has taken less than 6 years compared with more than 10 years required for [3G],” said Mark Newman, chief research officer at Ovum. “This highlights just how critical wireless data speeds have become, as operators aggressively roll out 4G networks to meet consumer demand for capacity, which continues unabated.”

“We also see LTE subscriptions doubling by 2017 and tripling by 2019 as smartphones become cheaper and mobile broadband services become more and more indispensable.  Indeed, today’s majority 2G subscribers will become a rarity, with 3G and 4G accounting for 85 percent of all subscriptions by end-2020.”

According to the GSA there are currently more than 460 LTE operators in 147 countries, with one third investing in LTE-A, which has been launched by 97 in 48 countries.

It is anticipated that the first commercial 5G networks will launch in 2020, with Ericsson predicting 150 million 5G subscriptions by 2021.

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