According to new estimates from GSMA Intelligence, the number of 4G-LTE connections worldwide could reach the one billion mark by 2017.
Within four years, it is expected that LTE will account for about one in eight of the more than eight billion total mobile connections forecast by that point, up from 176 million LTE connections at the end of 2013.
Nearly 500 LTE networks1 are forecast to be in service across 128 countries, roughly double the number of live LTE networks today.
“Since the launch of the first commercial 4G-LTE networks in late 2009 we are seeing deployments accelerate across the globe,” says Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer at the GSMA.
“Our new report,” Yang continues, “highlights a number of factors that are driving LTE growth: the timely allocation of suitable spectrum to mobile operators; the availability of affordable LTE devices; and the implementation of innovative tariffs that encourage adoption of high-speed data services. Mobile operators in both developed and developing markets are seeing LTE services contributing to a significant increase in ARPU.”
The United States presently accounts for 46 percent of global LTE connections. The United States, South Korea and Japan combined account for 80 percent of the LTE total today. However, Asia is expected to account for almost half (47 percent) of all LTE connections by 2017, as LTE networks expand in major markets such as China and India.