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4G LTE Mobile Subscribers will Exceed 1 Billion in 2017

LTE is a fourth-generation (4G) global standard which is the natural development route for GSM/HSPA network operators -- it's also the next generation mobile broadband system for many CDMA network operators.

Juniper Research forecasts a rapid uptake of 4G LTE mobile technology in the next five years, with active connections crossing the 1 billion mark in 2017 -- and reaching 1.8 billion by 2019.

This will represent 22 percent of the global active mobile subscriber identity module (SIM) connections by this time.

Their latest global market study finds that, with the rate of LTE network commitments and roll-outs at an all-time high, network and device vendors have significantly improved their position to offer products and solutions to network operators.

The GSA (Global Mobile Suppliers Association) confirmed that 168 manufacturers have announced 1,889 LTE-enabled user devices, including operator and frequency variants, along with 300 commercial network launches.


TD-LTE to Drive Rapid Expansion Plans

Juniper found that TD-LTE (Time Division LTE - using unpaired spectrum) will indeed play a major role in global deployment.

Driven by demand in China, Japan and India, TD-LTE will see an increased network roll-out from other parts of the world.

“TD-LTE will play a significant role, especially in the emerging markets, pushed by China Mobile’s need to support TD-LTE and accelerate its commercial deployment in China," said Nitin Bhas, principal analyst at Juniper Research.

There are thirty six commercial TD-LTE networks, and Juniper says that they expect active TD-LTE connections to demonstrate a higher annual growth rate when compared to FD-LTE (Frequency Division) over the next five years.

Additionally, the three leading Chinese operators including China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom have announced a joint infrastructure company to share network resources.

Other key findings from the study include:
  • Far East & China will account for the majority of the 4G LTE service revenues by 2019.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 smartphones shipped this year will be LTE enabled with manufacturers expected to ship more 4G enabled devices relative to 2G/3G devices.

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