Report predicts LTE and WiMAX will cover 4B people by 2015

ABI Research predicted that more than 4 billion people will have access to 4G technologies by 2015. The research firm, which defines 4G as either LTE or WiMAX, said its figure is double the more than 2 billion people today who currently have access to 3G technologies such as HSPA or EVDO Rev. A.

ABI analyst Neil Strother said the demand for high-speed wireless networks continues to rise globally, and he estimated that about 82 percent of Western Europe is covered by 3G networks but only 12 percent of Asia-Pacific has access to 3G. Strother blamed that region's lack of 3G coverage on government bureaucracy, such as repeated delays of spectrum auctions.

ABI's figures cover people who will have access to 4G--and not necessarily those who will actually subscribe to 4G services. In August, Juniper Research predicted that only 300 million mobile subscribers worldwide will use LTE by 2015. Juniper noted that mobile operators are now deploying LTE technology mainly to address surging mobile data traffic, and estimated that most of the growth in LTE subscribers will occur after 2012. The firm also said that HSPA and other 3G technologies will continue to do the heavy lifting in terms of traffic transmission for the next several years.

Likewise, research firm Maravedis estimated that there will be just 200 million LTE subscribers worldwide by 2015. Maravedis, which compiled its report in part through interviews with carrier executives, said that the pace of LTE network deployments in North America and parts of Asia likely will speed up over the next two years, and the majority of deployments will occur between 2011 and 2013.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Network World article

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