Report: U.S. LTE subscribers will make up 70% of connections by 2017

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The number of LTE subscribers in the United States will continue to increase markedly over the next few years, with the total number of LTE customers representing 70 percent of all U.S. mobile subscriptions by 2017, according to a new report from research firm Pyramid Research.

According to an excerpt of the Pyramid report, "USA: Operator Need for LTE Spectrum and Scale to Reshape Telecom Market through M&A," U.S. LTE subscriptions are expected to reach 262 million by 2017. According to 4G Americas, as of May 2013 there were 57 million LTE customers in the U.S. and Canada.

The number of LTE subscribers worldwide is rising rapidly too, and will continue to do so through the next several years, according to a January report from IHS iSuppli, which predicted that the number of LTE users worldwide will hit 198.1 million in 2013. Over the next few years LTE adoption is expected to surge to 1 billion users in 2016, the research firm said. Cisco predicts the number of 4G connections worldwide will steadily rise from 60.4 million in 2012 to 135.2 million in 2013 and up to around 992 million in 2017.

The Pyramid report found that, as operators focus on selling LTE phones, the use of 3G networks will decline. The firm said the "adoption of 3G technologies has peaked at 65 percent of the mobile subscription base" in the United States.

Looking more broadly, the report advised U.S. carriers to take advantage of LTE adoption, over-the-top content partnerships, service bundling and IT solutions. The report notes that the competitive landscape in the U.S. market is changing rapidly, with the merger between T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS creating T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) and Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) fate still uncertain. The report named Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) as "another likely acquisition target."

For more:
- see this Pyramid Research report (reg. req.)

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