Worldwide LTE-related subscriptions reached 229.7 million in 2013, and will continually grow at a CAGR of 43.6% between 2013 and 2019, to exceed 2 billion. By the end of 2013, LTE-TDD subscribers accounted for 5% of the LTE market, while 94.2% of the LTE market was taken up by LTE-FDD.
“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.”
All the major mobile operators are showing their commitments to carrier aggregation capable LTE-Advanced technology, which can better handle the anticipated explosion in mobile data traffic with greater bandwidth. ABI Research forecasts that LTE-Advanced subscribers will grow to 750 million in 2019 accounting for 37.3% of overall LTE subscribers. North America will be the most aggressive LTE-Advanced market, followed by Asia-Pacific and Western Europe. “Remarkably, the South Korean Operators, SK Telecom and LG U+, commercially launched LTE-Advanced networks in June 2013 and by the end of 2013, SK Telecom gained more than 1 million LTE-Advanced subscribers, which equates to 10% of all its LTE subscribers,” adds Jake Saunders, VP and practice director.
The growth of LTE subscribers has also boosted ARPU, because they are bigger spenders than their 3G and 2G counterparts by 35%. In order to revive traditional voice service revenues, many operators are keen to launch, deploy, or trial Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services as LTE network population coverage heads towards majority population coverage. Global VoLTE subscriptions are expected to surpass 1.09 billion in 2019, of which 34.2% are from Asia-Pacific and 27% from North America.
ABI Research’s quarterly updated “Mobile Subscribers” Market Data, profiles mobile subscriber adoption by operator, country, technology, device type, and subscriber market share and is part of our Mobile Subscribers Research Service.