LTE infrastructure sales continue to maintain a torrid pace, helping boost the fortunes of companies such as Huawei and ZTE, which are making their marks in LTE's TDD flavor.
Dell'Oro Group's quarterly report on the mobile radio access network market revealed that LTE RAN revenues rose more than 160 percent year-over-year through the first quarter of 2012. There were more than 60 commercial LTE networks in operation at the end of the quarter, with 15 million LTE subscriptions.
Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU) hold the top spots in overall LTE revenue share, but Huawei and ZTE captured the first top spots in TD-LTE sales thanks to their roles in Japanese operator Softbank Mobile's Wireless City Planning project, according to Dell'Oro. The Softbank network is based upon AXGP, a mobile broadband network that is considered compliant with TD-LTE.
The research firm said Samsung and NEC recorded the largest quarterly LTE revenue share increases.
Operators in more than 80 countries have committed to LTE, and the first-mover role of U.S. mobile operators is providing a blueprint for others to follow.
"With an LTE tablet that can be used by two-thirds of the U.S. population, operators around the world are looking to the US as an example of the potential opportunities that can be realized with the combination of a high-performance network, rich ecosystem of popular devices and price plans that promote the shift to LTE," said Stefan Pongratz, senior analyst at Dell'Oro Group.
"While 80 percent of the revenues in the first quarter of 2012 came from North America, Japan and South Korea, this will clearly change in the future as more countries are awarded licenses to deploy LTE," he said.
Another new report, this one issued by Strategy Analytics, predicts LTE will account for 90 million connections by year-end, rising to 1 billion connections by early 2017. The firm noted that LTE is on a faster trajectory than any other mobile technologies, as it will reach 1 billion connections in just over seven years, while it took GSM 12 years to reach that milestone and W-CDMA nearly 11 years.
- see this Dell'Oro release
- see this Strategy Analytics release
Analyst: Mobile data growth could double infrastructure costs within 5 years
Analysys Mason: With LTE, operators are cautious about data consumption
Clearwire, Qualcomm team up on multi-mode LTE chipsets
Sequans, Clearwire collaborating on TD-LTE devices
Report: Global public safety LTE spending to reach $850M in 2016
AT&T, T-Mobile wrangling over who has the largest 4G network