GSA, the Global mobile Suppliers Association announced that there are 635 million LTE subscriptions worldwide.
It also said that LTE subscriptions continue to grow faster than any other mobile communications system technology. Analysing Q1 2015 subscriptions data provided by Ovum Ltd, GSA noted that in 3 successive quarters LTE subscription net additions have outpaced any other mobile communications technology.
4G LTE subscriptions increased by 123.7 million in Q1 2015, which is over 58% higher than for 3G/WCDMA-HSPA gaining 77.9 million. GSM subscriptions fell 100 million in the quarter.
Asia-Pacific (APAC) increased its share of global LTE subscriptions to 49%, compared to 38% one year previously.
North America remains the second largest LTE market though its share fell to 28.3% of global LTE subscriptions, compared with 45% a year earlier. Europe is steadily building share and stands at 16.4%.
Strong growth was seen in the Latin America and Caribbean region which now has over 16 million 4G/LTE subscriptions and is over 13 million higher than a year ago, equivalent to 396% annual growth. A strong performance for LTE was also achieved in the Middle East with annual growth of 240%. Russia is another fast-growing LTE market achieving 4x growth in the number of its LTE subscriptions over the past year.
By March 2015 China had 162 million LTE subscriptions, having gained 64 million in Q1.
393 operators have commercially launched LTE systems in 138 countries, according to GSA data announced in April 2015. GSA forecasts there will be 460 commercially launched LTE networks by end 2015. A further update will be released this month. Deployment of LTE-Advanced technologies is a major industry trend in all regions, it said. 116 operators, i.e. around 30% of LTE operators are investing in LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation technology worldwide and are at various stages of deployment. Approaching 1 in 6 LTE operators have commercially launched service on LTE-Advanced systems (64 launched).
GSA is forecasting that the number of LTE subscriptions is expected to reach around 3.7 billion by the end of 2020, and at that time should pass the 3G/WCDMA-HSPA global base.
In terms of HSPA, there were over 1.83 billion WCMDA-HSPA subscriptions globally by Q4 2014. Key facts (based on HSPA Operator Commitments report as of May 16, 2015):
- 600 HSPA operator network commitments in 217 countries/territories
- 582 commercially launched networks in 216 countries
- All of the world’s WCDMA operators have commercially launched HSPA service
- Over 69% of HSPA operators have commercially launched HSPA+ systems
- 404 HSPA+ networks are commercially launched in 168 countries
- 182 DC-HSPA+ networks i.e. over 31% of all HSPA networks are commercially launched in 92 countries
- One 63 Mbps 3C-HSPA+ network has commercially launched (in Turkey)
- Most 3G/HSPA systems use 2.1 GHz spectrum (3GPP band 1). However UMTS900 is also mainstream: 96 operators in 60 countries commercially launched UMTS900 in either a single b and or multiband network deployment
Total 3G connections globally are expected to exceed LTE up until 2020, GSA said.