LTE subscriptions reached 755 million worldwide at end June, according to a study for GSA by Ovum. For the first time, LTE exceeded 10 percent (10.44%) of the worldwide subscription total for all mobile technologies. GSA expects over 1 billion LTE subscriptions worldwide by the end of the year.
Around 441 million LTE subscriptions were added in the year to end June, for an annual growth of 140 percent. In the quarter, the number of LTE subscriptions increased by 113.5 million, over 52 percent higher than for 3G/WCDMA-HSPA which gained 74.4 million. GSM subscriptions fell by over 98 million in the quarter.
APAC increased its share of global LTE subscriptions to 51.2 percent. North America has almost 200 million LTE subscriptions (198 million) and remains the second largest LTE market, though its share reduced to 26.2 percent of the global total compared with 42.4 percent the year before. The European share remained at around 16 percent and the total number of LTE subscriptions across Western Europe markets passed 100 million.
Strong growth was seen in the Latin America and Caribbean region which now has over 22.5 million 4G/LTE subscriptions and over 17.2 million higher than the year earlier, equivalent to 324 percet annual growth. A strong performance for LTE was also achieved in the Middle East where more than 1 million LTE subscriptions were added monthly. The region has 23.7 million LTE subscriptions and an annual growth of 194 percent. Russia has almost three times the number of LTE subscriptions compared to one year earlier. By June 2015 China had passed 225 million LTE subscriptions, 63.5 million in Q2 alone.
About 422 operators have commercially launched LTE systems in 143 countries, according to GSA data announced in July 2015. GSA forecasts there will be 460 commercially launched LTE networks by end 2015.
Over 30 percent of operators are investing in LTE-Advanced system deployments, with the commercialisation of carrier aggregation the first feature to be exploited. Around 88 operators -over 20 percent of all LTE operators- have commercially launched LTE-Advanced service in 45 countries. Some 15 LTE-Advanced networks support Category 4 devices (above 100 Mbps up to 150 Mbps peak downlink speed) while 73 networks support Category 6 devices (above 150 Mbps up to 300 Mbps).
The number of LTE and LTE-Advanced subscriptions is expected to pass the 3G/WCDMA-HSPA global total in 2020.