A new report by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Forecast Service has revealed that global Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscribers are projected to grow 35% compounded annually over the next five years, from 516 million to 2.3 billion.
South Korea at the moment has the strongest LTE adoption where the 4G technology accounted for 63% of wireless subscribers in 2014.
United States comes in second where LTE overtook 3G as the leading mobile technology last year to account for just over half of wireless subscribers, and Japan, where LTE had a subscriber market share of 41% in 2014.
It is expected that LTE will continue to grow in each of these countries over the next five years to account for between 80% and 90% of their respective mobile subscribers, the rest of the world will begin to catch up.
China has seen a boom in TD-LTE network deployment and soaring use of data-based services are occurring. 8% of Chinese wireless subscribers were LTE at the end of 2014; however, that number is forecast to grow to 39% by 2019, meaning China alone will account for nearly one-third of global LTE subscribers.
However, 2G still remains the dominant mobile platform today, accounting for 61% of global mobile subscribers.
90% of India’s 950 million subscribers are still connected to 2G networks. Until recently, challenges allocating spectrum resources and high 3G tariffs hampered the country’s mobile development.
The situation is improving following reductions in 3G tariffs and increased adoption of smartphones, and India’s 3G subscribers are forecast to quadruple over the next five years, but they will still account for only one-third of its mobile subscriber base.
‘LTE is growing at a faster rate than 3G ever did,’ said TeleGeography analyst Mark Gibson. ‘However, while 3G subscribers are declining in the US and Europe, they continue to grow in all other regions — most notably in Africa.
Global 3G subscribers are expected to surpass 2G subscribers in 2019, although each of these technologies will continue to account for a larger share of subscribers than LTE.