Sanity check: with LTE in the headlines nearly all the time you'd be forgiven for thinking that it will be everything everywhere by 2015. Surprise! It will account for just 4 per cent of the world's connections by that time. By Ian Scales
For the industry's marketing experts and number-projectors this fact will come as no surprise, but for the rest of us... if I'd been asked to name a likely range off the top of my head I would probably have said between 15 and 30 per cent. After all, 2015 is still some distance off and some networks are up and running right now.
Not so. According to Wireless Intelligence, which has just announced a new study - Global LTE network forecasts and assumptions 2010-2015 - connections will only get past 1 million next year and will reach 300 million by 2015.
Asia Pacific will be the world's largest LTE region by then, contributing 43 per cent of all global LTE connections by this point with China – the world's largest mobile market – accounting for around half of that total.
LTE network migration will initially be driven by operators in Western Europe and North America, which currently account for a combined 70 percent of global LTE connections, due to early LTE rollouts by the likes of TeliaSonera and Verizon Wireless
However, Asia Pacific will quickly become the largest LTE market as migration gathers pace in major markets such as China, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea. The Americas and Africa are expected to be the two regions slowest to migrate to LTE, collectively accounting for just 5 percent of global LTE connections by 2015.
According to Joss Gillet, Senior Analyst at Wireless Intelligence, "the introduction of voice over LTE (VoLTE) by around 2012 will mark the 'tipping point' for mass-market LTE handset volume shipments.
However, premium price points and limited availability means that we will see low LTE handset penetration in the short term."
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Asia Pacific 27% 32% 43% 40% 41% 43%
W. Europe 34% 22% 22% 28% 26% 24%
USA/Canada 36% 37% 27% 22% 20% 18%
E. Europe 1% 4% 3% 3% 4% 5%
Middle East 2% 4% 5% 6% 6% 5%
Americas 0% 1% 1% 2% 3% 4%
Africa 0% 0% 0% 1% 1% 1%
Table 1: Regional share of LTE connections?Source: 'Global LTE network forecasts & assumptions 2010-2015' Wireless Intelligence (December 2010)
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