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Year-End 2014: Nearly Half a Billion LTE Connections Worldwide

by david.nunes

Year-End 2014: Nearly Half a Billion LTE Connections Worldwide

4G Americas reports substantial gains for LTE in North America

BELLEVUE, Wash. – March 11, 2015 – 4G Americas, a wireless trade association representing the 3GPP family of technologies, today announced that LTE reached a new milestone with nearly half a billion connections worldwide at the end of 2014 according to data gathered by Ovum. North America contributed significantly to global LTE connections with 33 percent or 164 million of the total 498 million LTE connections worldwide, although in mid-year the Asia Pacific region surpassed the U.S. and Canada in the top spot in terms of total LTE connections.

North America
“North America is still considered the global LTE leader. In terms of market share, penetration and coverage, the U.S. leads the world and remains at the head of the class in technology and spectrum innovation,” stated Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. “As expected, Asia Pacific has added a large amount of LTE connections over the past six months, passing North America for the first time.”

LTE subscriptions represent 40 percent of all mobile connections in North America which compares to the next leading world regional market of Western Europe at nearly 13 percent and Asia with 10 percent market share for LTE.  Penetration of LTE in the U.S. with 164 million LTE connections was at 49 percent based on the country’s population of about 318 million. Finally, LTE coverage in the U.S. has achieved more than 300 million of the population (referred to as POPs coverage).  This means roughly 94 percent of the U.S. population has access to LTE service.

Another mobile broadband metric in the North American market includes 75 percent penetration of smart phones (Chetan Sharma, March 2015). Leading U.S. carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, are looking toward LTE-Advanced to meet the growing demand for advanced data services. By 2020, nearly 60 percent of all LTE subscriptions will be on LTE-Advanced networks according to Ovum.

  • 67 commercial LTE networks deployed in U.S. and Canada
  • 164 million LTE connections as of December 2014 for net gain of 64 million new LTE customers in the last 12 months, 64 percent growth
  • 275 million HSPA and LTE mobile broadband connections or 67 percent market share

Latin America
Latin America has seen a substantial increase in LTE deployments and subscribers with an impressive 488 percent annual growth from 2 million LTE connections at year-end 2013 to 12 million at year-end 2014. This may be largely attributed to the spectrum auctions that have occurred throughout the region allowing service providers the ability to offer LTE services to their customers beginning primarily in the densely populated urban cities. GSM still hovers above both LTE and HSPA with a total of 436 million subscribers in the region; however, it continues to decline year-over-year.

Jose Otero, 4G Americas Director of Latin America and the Caribbean, provided examples of how spectrum allocation jump starts mobile broadband advancement. He noted that, “Allocation of spectrum in Argentina and Venezuela catalyzed the deployment of three new LTE networks in these markets. There are several spectrum auctions already announced for this year and we expect at least ten new LTE commercial networks during 2015. In addition, we might see LTE-Advanced expanding to new markets as operators strive to position themselves as innovators.”

  • 59 commercial LTE networks in 22 countries; increased from 37 LTE networks twelve months ago
  • 12 million LTE connections as of December 2014; growth of 488 percent during the past twelve months
  • 266 million HSPA connections for net gain of 72 million new HSPA customers in the last 12 months, 36 percent market share
  • 3GPP mobile broadband (HSPA and LTE) represents a market share of 38 percent

During 2013 to 2014, Asia Pacific had nearly 152 million LTE additions; North America added 64 million new LTE subscriptions; and Western Europe had nearly 50 million additional LTE connections. Global LTE connections totaled 498 million, with an annual growth of 141 percent.

LTE is currently deployed on 367 networks in 121 countries. LTE-Advanced is also gaining speed globally; currently 54 networks in 35 countries have deployed the technology.

  • 497 million LTE subscriptions; up from 206 million at the end of 2013
  • Nearly 2 billion HSPA and LTE combined mobile broadband subscriptions
  • 7.1 billion total cellular connections; 6.7 billion 3GPP subscriptions

“We are thrilled to see the rapid rise of LTE and LTE-Advanced not only in the Americas, but throughout the world,” added Pearson. “As key stakeholders in the industry continue to drive the advancement of LTE well into the next decade, we are eager to see how LTE innovation will possibly play a key role in providing the mobile broadband foundation for 5G technology in the future.”

4G Americas maintains a current list of LTE deployments in the Americas on its website.  For more information and to view a variety of statistical charts on the 3GPP family of technologies, visit www.4gamericas.org. Subscriber and forecast data is from Ovum.

About 4G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Mobile Broadband Technology
4G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization’s mission is to advocate for and foster the advancement and full capabilities of the 3GPP family of mobile broadband technologies, including LTE-Advanced and beyond to 5G, throughout the ecosystem’s networks, services, applications and wirelessly connected devices in the Americas. 4G Americas contributes to the success of 3GPP technologies and their No. 1 place in the region. 4G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. More information is available at www.4gamericas.org or www.twitter.com/4gamericas and www.facebook.com/4gamericas.

4G Americas’ Board of Governors members include: Alcatel-Lucent, América Móvil, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, Cisco, CommScope, Entel, Ericsson, HP, Intel, Mavenir, Nokia, Qualcomm, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc. and Telefónica.

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