US still top for LTE subscriber numbers
The US remains at the top of LTE service adoption globally, with a total of just over 5.6 million subscribers recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011 according to data from TelegeoGraphy’s GlobalComms Database.
This number accounted for 64% of the 8.8 million global LTE users, with Japan a distant second at 1.1 million users (13%) and South Korea third with 740,000 users (8%).
US LTE subscriber growth increased 8,000% from just 70,000 in Q4 2010. Much of this growth can be attributed to the aggressive LTE roll-out of Verizon Wireless, which accounts for 97% of US LTE subscribers and 62% of the global LTE user base. Since launching in 2010, Verizon’s network already covers 196 cities and more than 200 million people.
Growth is also picking up in Japan, with NTT DoCoMo gaining 750,000 subscribers in Q4 2011 alone. “We project very rapid LTE adoption in Japan, with LTE subscribers topping 42 million by 2016,” said TeleGeography analyst David Leach. “Nevertheless, Verizon’s enormous head start should allow them to remain the largest LTE operator in the world for some time.”