2014 will go down in history as a banner year for LTE.
The number of LTE mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide reached the milestone of 250 million in the first quarter of 2014.
That was the announcement ahead of the weekend from global analyst firm Ovum.
Ovum’s latest update to the World Cellular Data Metrics shows that the US is the world’s largest LTE market, with the two leading US operators, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, accounting for 35% of global LTE subscriptions.
“Verizon ended 1Q14 with 47.9 million LTE subscriptions and AT&T ended with 38.4 million,” says senior analyst Thecla Mbongue. “There are seven operators worldwide with more than 10 million total LTE subscriptions; the majority of these operators are either US or Japanese operators. Korea was the most penetrated LTE market in 1Q14, with a rate of 47% of the country’s population.”
“The increased availability and affordability of LTE-capable devices is a major growth driver,” adds Mbongue. “However, deployments and usage are still at an early stage globally, except for North America, where LTE represented over one-third of mobile broadband usage in 1Q14. In emerging markets, where prepaid is dominant and handset subsidies less frequent, LTE take-up is slow as coverage is limited and operators prioritize the high-end and business segments.”