China and US take LTE to one billion users

There were one billion LTE users across the world by the end of 2015, with China, the US, Japan and South Korea accounting for two-thirds of them. The UK is in fifth position.

According to figures from analyst firm Ovum, the 4G technology will continue to rise by double-digit growth over the next five years – and India will be the third biggest market by 2020.

“Reaching one billion LTE subscriptions has taken less than six years compared with more than 10 years required for W-CDMA [3G],” said Mark Newman, chief research officer of the analyst company. “This highlights just how critical wireless data speeds have become, as operators aggressively roll out 4G networks to meet consumer demand for capacity, which continues unabated.”

The research shows that China has 35% of the market and the US 21%. Japan has 9% and South Korea 4%.

By 2020 China will have 28% of a much larger market, followed by the US and India on an expected 10% each, says Ovum. Japan, Russia, Indonesia and Brazil will be the next largest LTE customers.

The LTE and smartphone markets are growing side by side. “We also see LTE subscriptions doubling by 2017 and tripling by 2019 as smartphones become cheaper and mobile broadband services become more and more indispensable,” said Newman.

By 2020, 85% of all mobile users will use 3G or 4G, he added.