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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Why the Asia-Pacific Region Leads in 4G LTE Adoption

Worldwide 4G LTE-related mobile network service provider subscriptions reached 229.7 million in 2013, and will continually grow at a CAGR of 43.6 percent between 2013 and 2019 -- eventually exceed 2 billion subscribers.

Moreover, by the end of 2013, LTE-TDD subscribers accounted for 5 percent of the LTE market, while 94.2 percent of the LTE market was taken up by LTE-FDD.

"Among the LTE subscription growth, Asia-Pacific contributes the most with a 49 percent market share. The second greatest contributor is North America with an 18 percent share," said Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research.

The large population base in the Asia-Pacific region, combined with rapid LTE network deployment and cost-competitive smartphones, has accelerated the remarkable subscriber adoption thus far.

All the major mobile network operators are showing their commitments to carrier aggregation capable LTE-Advanced technology, which can better handle the anticipated explosion in mobile internet access traffic with the deployment of greater broadband bandwidth.

ABI Research forecasts that LTE-Advanced subscribers will grow to 750 million in 2019 -- accounting for 37.3 percent of overall LTE subscribers.

Looking to the future market outlook, 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 percent of all its LTE subscribers.

The growth of 4G LTE subscribers has also boosted average revenue per user (ARPU), because they are typically bigger spenders than their 3G and 2G counterparts by about 35 percent.

In order to revive traditional mobile voice service revenues, many operators are keen to launch, deploy, or trial Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services -- as LTE network population coverage moves toward the majority population coverage.

According to ABI's assessment, global VoLTE subscriptions are expected to surpass 1.09 billion in 2019, of which 34.2 percent are from Asia-Pacific and 27 percent from North America.