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Global LTE connection net adds surpassed 3G in second half of 2014 – report

4G LTE

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has said the total number of LTE connection net adds across the world surpassed 3G in the second half of last year and its adoption is faster than with any other mobile communications system technology.

Referring to figures from analyst firm Ovum, GSA said the number of LTE subscriptions reached 497 million globally in December 2014, of which 290 million were gained last year alone. According to the industry group’s calculations, in the last six months of 2014 there were 21% more LTE net additions than 3G/WCDMA-HSPA.

LTE has quickly built a huge momentum across the world with a rapidly expanding footprint,” Joe Barrett, President of GSA, said. “LTE net subscription additions in Q4 2014 were 45% higher than in the previous quarter.”

Alan Hadden, Vice President of Research, GSA said: “LTE subscriptions grew by 115 million in Q4 [of 2014], over 36% higher than 3G/WCDMA-HSPA connections GSM subscriptions fell by 78.5 million in the same period. We are confident that LTE growth will continue to lead all other mobile systems.”

GSA predicts the number of commercial LTE networks across the world will rise from 364 in December 2014 to 450 by the end of this year. It also claimed LTE-Advanced is a major trend occurring across world markets.

Regionally, Asia-Pacific took the top spot from North America for the first time in the second half of last year as its share of total global LTE connections reached 47%, up from 40% six month prior. North America’s share in the same period came to 33%, down from 42.3%, and Europe’s share grew from 14.3% to 16%.

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Despite North America losing its status as the world’s biggest LTE market, US-based wireless trade association 4G Americas didn’t show any loss of enthusiasm for the region and USA in particular. “North America is still considered the global LTE leader,” Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas claimed.

“In terms of market share, penetration and coverage, the US leads the world and remains at the head of the class in technology and spectrum innovation. As expected, Asia-Pacific has added a large amount of LTE connections over the past six months, passing North America for the first time.”

4G Americas, which represents 3GPP technologies, said 40% of all mobile subscriptions in North America are LTE, compared to almost 13% in Western Europe and 10% in Asia. It was also keen to emphasise approximately 94% of the US population has access to LTE.

Looking at Latin America, 4G Americas said the number of LTE connections has risen exponentially from two million at the end of 2013 to 12 million in December 2014.  Jose Otero, 4G Americas Director of Latin America and the Caribbean said: “Allocation of spectrum in Argentina and Venezuela catalysed the deployment of three new LTE networks in these markets.

“There are several spectrum auctions already announced for this year and we expect at least ten new LTE commercial networks during 2015. In addition, we might see LTE-Advanced expanding to new markets as operators strive to position themselves as innovators.”

*correction on March 13, @11.35: Original headline “the total number of LTE connections across the world surpassed 3G in the second half of last year” has been corrected to reflect the figures correctly. 

Telecoms.com’s news coverage is sponsored by NEC.

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