The smartphone market is continuing to grow, yet most of the world does not yet have access to 4G LTE connections. This is set to change in the near future, however, as emerging nations such as China begin to build out their infrastructure.
Market research firm ABI Research today released a new report showing that LTE subscriptions worldwide hit 229.7 million last year. This number is expected to rise rapidly within the coming years and the firm is predicting that LTE subscriptions will hit 2 billion by the end of 2019.
With established markets such as the U.S. beginning to see smartphone and tablet growth slow, growth in LTE subscriptions is being concentrated more in emerging markets. This is particularly true in Asia, where aggressive LTE technology rollouts have combined to add millions of new LTE subscribers in the past year.
“Among the LTE subscription growth, Asia-Pacific contributes the most with a 49% market share. The second greatest contributor is North America with an 18% share,” comments Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research. “The large population base in Asia combined with rapid LTE network deployment and cost-competitive smartphones has accelerated the remarkable subscriber adoption.”
ABI's report also predicts that several LTE-related technologies will grow along with the overall industry. LTE-Advanced is expected to hit 750 million subscribers by the year 2019 and the voice over LTE industry is expected to take off as network coverage expands. Mobile revenue is predicted to grow since LTE subscribers spend more on average.