LTE to Cover Half the Globe by 2017 – GSMA

LTE will cover half of the world, reaching one billion connections, by 2017, according to new research from the GSMA, but the balance of 4G power is shifting.

The GSM Association (GSMA) 's research arm, GSMA Intelligence, put out its latest 4G projections Tuesday, predicting that LTE will account for one in eight, or 1 billion out of 8 billion, global mobile connections in the next three years. That's up from the 176 million LTE connections reached to date.

The GSMA says nearly 500 LTE networks will be in service across 128 countries in 2017, roughly doubling the number that are live today. The biggest difference will be where the networks are. Today, about 20% of the global population is within an LTE network coverage range, but that number climbs to 90% in the US alone compared to 47% in Europe and 10% in Asia.

The US currently makes up 46% of global LTE connections, but by 2017, the GSMA expects Asia to account for 47% of the global connections as more networks are rolled out in markets such as China and India. Right now, South Korea is the world leader with half of its connections on LTE, compared to 20% in Japan and the US.

In other 4G tidbits, the GSMA also found that LTE users consume an average of 1.5GB of data per month, almost twice the amount consumed by non-LTE users. And, in developing countries, LTE users can generate ARPU that's seven to 20 times greater than non-LTE users. In developed markets, ARPU is around 10% to 40% higher.

LTE networks have been deployed in 12 different frequency bands to date, but four out of five live LTE networks are in one of four bands: 700MHz, 800MHz, 1800MHz, or 2600MHz. (See LTE Inches Closer to Roaming the Globe and LTE RF: Complicated by Design.)

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Liz Greenberg 12/1/2013 | 12:56:28 AM
Re: Which 50% Only the looney ones of course think that the project will not only launch but really take off too!
DanJones 11/30/2013 | 9:49:23 PM
Re: Which 50% Who actually *thinks* that Google's Project Loon will take off though, I'm not convinced....
Liz Greenberg 11/26/2013 | 4:34:12 PM
Re: Which 50% This will be handled by Google's balloons - ocean coverage that is!
DanJones 11/26/2013 | 12:38:38 PM
Real 4G? By the raw tech specs alone, "real" 4G is LTE-Advanced (3GPP Rel 10). But with all the carrier aggregation I think we're going to be looking at a lot of carriers being global spectrum beggars, no?
Sarah Thomas 11/26/2013 | 12:33:37 PM
Re: Verizon Yeah, not low, but I think they will start to grow faster as consumers upgrade devices and LTE deployments are completed.
MordyK 11/26/2013 | 12:33:31 PM
Re: Verizon I think Dan is right, and IMO its because of the shift to smartphone's occuring at the same time.
MordyK 11/26/2013 | 12:32:06 PM
Re: Which 50% If history is anything to go by, they did the saem thing in bypassing wireline to go wireless. The wireless though has been inferior in many ways, which as you say will likely be repeated with LTE, but real 4G over LTE will still be awhile. 
DanJones 11/26/2013 | 12:30:50 PM
Re: Verizon I don't really think the numbers are low. I think the US LTE device rollout is pretty damn speedy compared to 3G device adoption.
DanJones 11/26/2013 | 12:29:36 PM
Re: Which 50% Hah!

We appear to have balloons, blimps and drones coming to get us that coverage. ;-)
DanJones 11/26/2013 | 12:28:13 PM
Re: Which 50% I wonder if we'll eventually get to an iPhone 6E (or whatever) in an eventual bid to get in on some low-end market action? Seems like the tension for Apple is that they don't want to dilute their brand or ASP but do they need to get into selling cheaper if they want to extend sales beyond their already saturated markets?
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