Pyramid: Brits to Embrace 4G

There's plenty of pent-up demand for 4G services in the U.K., where almost a quarter of mobile connections will be over LTE networks within a few years, according to a new forecast from Pyramid Research .

British users have only just been offered 4G services for the first time and from just one operator currently, with EE having stolen a march on its rivals with an early (and quite widely criticized) launch in late October. (See How Not to Do 4G, EE-Style.)

But those same rivals are set to join the LTE market in the coming year or so (depending on the success of the forthcoming spectrum auction), fueling a market that should grow from almost nothing today to 22.2 million connections by 2017, finds Olena Kaplan, author of a new Europe Intelligence Report entitled "UK: Fiber Deployment and Launch of 4G/LTE Boost Broadband."

In line with that uptake, demand for high-end mobile devices will continue to grow in the U.K., with Kaplan expecting smartphones to account for 84 percent of all mobile handsets sold in the U.K. by 2017, up from 59 percent in 2012.

But the shift to 4G services will only slightly dent the 3G market, according to the report's projections: "3G services are expected to remain the most prominent technology over the next five years, with 62.7 million subscribers in 2017, down from 63.6 million in 2012," notes Kaplan.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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