The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has forecast that there will be at least 450 commercially launched long-term evolution (LTE) networks globally by the end of 2015. This will be up from the 364 that were in service at the end of 2014.
LTE, also known as 4G, is a mobile network technology which can provide data speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G networks.
Referring to newly-released data provided by Ovum Ltd, GSA calculated that LTE subscription net additions outpaced 3G/WCDMA-HSPA by 21% during the last 6 months of 2014, with LTE leading in both Q3 and Q4.
Alan Hadden, GSA’s VP of research, says: “LTE subscriptions grew by 115 million in the fourth quarter, over 36% higher than 3G connections. GSM subscriptions fell by 78.5 million in the same period. We are confident that LTE growth will continue to lead all other mobile systems.”
According to Hadden there were 497 million LTE subscriptions worldwide at the end of last year which was equal to 140% growth from 2013.
The biggest gains were seen in the Asia-Pacific region which accounted for 47% of global LTE connections in 2014. The second largest region was North America with 33% of global LTE subscriptions, while Europe was on 16% of global subscriptions.
Most of South Africa’s mobile operators provide a LTE offering, although coverage is still limited as network operators say they cannot move further into this space until the issue of spectrum allocation is resolved.