GSMA backs LTE subs forecasts

The GSM Association (GSMA) is confirming predictions that LTE subscriber numbers will soar in the next five years.
A report by GSMA Intelligence, the Association’s research and analysis arm, predicts the number of LTE networks will almost double to 500 between 2013 and 2017, and the number of connections will grow from 176 million to a billion during the period.
The forecasts are broadly in line with predictions from Informa Telecoms & Media, which last week tipped LTE subscriber numbers to grow from 188.6 million at end-2013 to 1.3 billion at end-2018.
Hyunmi Yang, chief strategy officer at the GSMA, says global LTE deployments are accelerating as “suitable spectrum” is allocated to mobile operators, more affordable 4G handsets are launched, and carriers implement “innovative tariffs that encourage adoption of high-speed data services.”
GSMA Intelligence also concurs with Informa that the US is currently the largest market for LTE connections, accounting for 46% of global subscriptions. However, the research arm predicts Asia will become the dominant region by 2017, due mostly to network rollouts in China and India.
The GSMA report also reveals that 4G migration is typically happening faster than the switch from 2G to 3G, and LTE users currently consume an average of 1.5-GB of data per month – roughly double the amount of non-LTE users.