In the fourth quarter of 2018, LTE technology reached nearly 4 billion connections worldwide representing 47 percent of all cellular technologies and providing 4G wireless access to services and applications to a large portion of the world’s population. 5G Americas announced LTE’s continued momentum for the fourth quarter of 2018 in North America, Latin America and throughout the world according to data from Ovum.
North America’s market share for LTE at 82 percent exceeds all other world regions at the fourth quarter of 2018; the next highest world regions are Oceania; Eastern and South Eastern Asia with LTE share of 67 percent followed by Western Europe at 52 percent. Latin America and the Caribbean had significant growth of LTE market share to 40 percent, up from 29 percent at the end of 2017. Market share represents the percentage of mobile wireless connections that are LTE technology versus all other mobile cellular technologies.
“While the 5G market reality and innovation are upon us, the number of LTE connections continue to grow on 637 commercial networks worldwide, as well as the evolution to advanced LTE networks for the IoT, Gigabit LTE speeds and new methods for spectrum use and sharing,” stated Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas.
As of March 2018, LTE is deployed on 637 networks worldwide of which 294 are LTE-Advanced (TeleGeography-GlobalComms Database). The global deployment success of LTE provides the foundation for 5G networks in the future.
4Q 2018 - North America
LTE achieved 417 million connections with a market share of 82 percent in the U.S. and Canada.
LTE penetration passed 100 percent in 2018. This penetration rate is forecast to rise to 125 percent in 2021 after which time new 5G connections will begin to impact LTE subscriptions and penetration rates. Penetration rates represent the number of connections compared to the population.
- 417 million LTE connections at 4Q 2018; increase of 63 million year-over-year
- LTE is forecast to reach 86 percent market share with 473 million connections at the end of 2020 (including M2M) then begin to decline as 5G connections begin to grow; in 2021, LTE market share is forecast to decline to 83 percent and 467 million LTE subscriptions
- Early launches of 5G in the U.S. will result in the #1 position globally in 2019 with 336,000 connections, 47 percent of all global 5G connections; however, 5G connections will quickly grow in North America to almost 4 million in 2020 (forecast)
- 5G connections are forecast to pass 100 million in 2022
4Q 2018 - Latin America and the Caribbean
LTE’s market share increased from 17 to 29 percent year-over-year at year-end 2017, and grew to 40 percent by the end of 2018. LTE is forecast to be the most widely used cellular technology in the region by the end of 2019.
- 700 million total mobile wireless subscriptions
- 277 million LTE connections; 74 million added year-over-year from 4Q 2017
- 4Q 2018 was the largest growth quarter for LTE in 2018 with 19.8 million new connections while all other mobile technologies declined; GSM lost 53 million connections and was down to 123 million at the end of 2018
- LTE is forecast to reach 348 million connections at the end of 2019, 413 million at end of 2020, and peak at 510 million connections by 2022 with 67 percent market share (forecast includes M2M)
- By 2021, 5G is forecast to achieve nearly 3.5 million connections growing to 17 million in 2022 and 75 million connections in 2023
4Q 2018 - Global
At the end of 2018, global LTE connections reached nearly 4 billion. Also notable, LTE market share reached 47 percent, up from 37 percent at the end of 2017.
“At this time, the world region fueling the most LTE growth is Central and Southern Asia, which grew 81 percent year-on-year, due primarily to 236 million net additions from India. However, the Oceania, Eastern and Southeastern Asia region has the largest number of LTE subscriptions at 2.12 billion, due primarily to 1.56 billion connections in China,” explained Kristin Paulin, senior analyst at Ovum.
- Nearly 1 billion new LTE subscriptions year-over-year from 4Q 2017
- By 2023, 5G connections will exceed 1.3 billion, almost doubling from 2022 (512.4 million)