Number of LTE connections doubled in 2015 to one billion

07 March 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

The number of LTE subscriptions in the world passed one billion at the end of 2015 and the market is increasing by about 50 million a month.

The latest survey for the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) shows that the 4G market was 1.068 billion on December 31 2015, having increased by 156 million in the fourth quarter of the year and more than doubled in the whole year. 

Alan Hadden, the GSA’s VP of research, said: “A daily average of almost 1.7 million LTE subscriptions were being signed up during Q4 2015 and the rate of LTE subscriptions growth is accelerating. LTE technology is now being used by one in seven mobile subscriptions worldwide.”

The research, carried out by Ovum for the GSA, showed that LTE gained 552.2 million subscriptions worldwide in 2015, representing 107% annual growth.

The number of 2G GSM subscriptions is falling almost as fast as 4G LTE is going up – by 141 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The GSA predicts that the rate of increase of 4G is such that subscriptions will pass the number of 3G connections in 2020.

A total of 480 operators have launched LTE systems commercially in 157 countries, according to GSA data. The organisation, which represents major vendors, forecasts there will be 550 commercially launched LTE networks by the end of 2016.

The total number of subscriptions to all mobile technologies at the end of 2015 was 7.343 billion, said the GSA.