915 million LTE subscribers expected worldwide by 2016

There will be more than 915 million LTE subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2016, according to think tank Idate.

Asia-Pacific is expected to represent the majority (41.6 per cent) of the total, with North America representing 21.6 per cent, Western Europe 15.8 per cent while the African and Middle  region and Eastern Europe will account for 7.5 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively.

Idate’s report also addressed spectrum harmonization issues, claiming that harmonization is crucial to enable economies of scale for LTE devices and to facilitate international roaming. Idate noted that the 700 MHz band in the USA and the 800 MHz band in Europe are today used for commercial LTE services. However, the 700 MHz now appears the most promising option for a harmonised frequency band across Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, according to the think tank.

“Many observers insist that Europe should not make the same mistake as it did with the 800MHz band – where the auctions took place without coordination leading to undesirable early starts in some countries with a limited range of compatible devices,” the firm said in its report.

“The harmonization process in Europe should be clear with precise technical parameters and a realistic roadmap taking into account the timetable of existing broadcasting services. 2020 seems to be a realistic target for the launch of LTE services in the 700 MHz band in Europe, but some countries, such as France and perhaps Germany, are already planning to organise auctions as soon as 2015 even though the spectrum will only be available at a later date.”


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