The global LTE market will more than double between next year and 2014 as operators roll out LTE networks, according to a new report from research firm Yankee Group.
The firm's report, called "What's Next for Mobile Broadband," looks at various aspects of the mobile data market. The report notes that the Global Mobile Suppliers Association forecasts there will be 152 commercial LTE networks in 65 countries by the end of 2012, up from 47 networks at the end of 2011. As a result, Yankee predicts there will be 114 million active LTE connections globally by the end of 2013, increasing to 258 million by the end of 2014.
Faster networks will bring in more data revenue for carriers, but it won't all be rosy for operators over the next few years, according to Yankee Group. Over-the-top messaging and voice applications will continue to eat into carriers' revenue streams and pose a challenge to their dominance in the customer relationship, Yankee said.
The report predicts that operators worldwide will generate $697 billion in voice and consumer messaging service revenue by 2016, down from $769 billion in 2011. As a result, Yankee said it expects to see operators bundling more OTT communication apps with LTE subscriptions, as well as operators increasing their portfolio of cloud-based solutions such as content-storage and backup with premium LTE services.
Yankee's bullish outlook on OTT service is in line with other analysts' estimates. Ovum said in October that by 2016 operators will have lost $54 billion in SMS revenue alone due to the increasing popularity of social messaging services on smartphones.
"As consumers and enterprises increasingly expect always-on connectivity anywhere they go, operators around the world face unprecedented challenges," Yankee analyst Declan Lonergan said in a statement. "Not only are they tasked with investing in new infrastructure and rolling out next-generation LTE networks at an ever-faster pace (in a decidedly harsh economic climate), but they must also find innovative ways to monetize those new networks, all while fighting increasingly intense competition from OTT vendors intent on stealing away their bread-and-butter voice and messaging revenue."
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