Global LTE reached the 2.5 billion connection mark at the end of the third quarter of the year, according to data from Ovum and released by 5G Americas. North America had 341 million LTE subscribers at the end of September, representing LTE population coverage of 94%.
LTE Population Coverage
This easily outdistances the next two regions: Oceania (Micronesia, Fiji, and Polynesia except New Zealand) and Eastern and Southeastern Asia had LTE population coverage of 58% and Western Europe was measured at 57%. North America is expected to pass 100% LTE population coverage (meaning that the number of LTE subscribers will be greater than the population) next year.
The advent of 5G does not mean that LTE is fading, 5G Americas noted. “Although the global wireless industry is working on preparations for 5G in the future, currently operators are deploying more advanced LTE capabilities, and LTE subscriptions are continuing to grow at a fantastic rate,” said Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas in a press release.
North America, at 73%, has the highest market share for LTE compared to other mobile technologies. Oceania, Eastern and Southeastern Asia are at 52% and Western Europe is at 42%.
5G Americas forecasts that LTE will continue to grow to 3 billion connections in 2018 and 4.9 billion connections in 2022. Third quarter predictions:
- 838 million new LTE subscriptions year-over-year from 3Q 2016; 49 percent growth
- LTE market share of 32 percent
- LTE connections forecast to reach 4.8 billion by year-end 2021 (forecast includes M2M)
- LTE global market share forecast to reach 53 percent by year end 2021
- 5G is forecast to reach 111 million connections by the end of 2021
The press release points to Ovum’s prediction that LTE next year will become the most popular technology with a total 3.16 billion LTE connections globally. It will have 41.6% penetration and 38% market share. LTE will have nearly 5 billion connections and a penetration rate of 62% by December 2022, according to the forecast.