LTE to have 150m active users by 2014

According to research company In-Stat, there will be 150m active LTE users worldwide by 2014, driven in the main by strong demand from the US market.

While current Informa World Cellular Information Service (WCIS) statistics indicate just over 1.2m active LTE subscribers worldwide, the In-Stat report forecasts that there will be eight million by the end of the year.

The US as a whole currently represents nearly 94 per cent of the total LTE market worldwide though, as of today, MetroPCS and Verizon Wireless are the only US networks offering live LTE services, with the latter accounting for over 95 per cent of that figure, according to WCIS data. The second largest US operator, AT&T, is set to launch its LTE network this summer, as is U.S. Cellular, while Australia’s Telstra will also be going live by the end of the year. Meanwhile, SK Telecom has  just launched an LTE service in Seoul, South Korea on 1 July.

Even accounting for the increase in LTE subscribers in Europe and Asia, by 2014 the number of LTE users in the US will exceed both of them combined, the report states.

“The increasing investment of US telecom operators in LTE will gradually shift the leadership of the global wireless communications sector from Asia and Europe to the US,” In-Stat senior analyst Chris Kissel said in a statement.

Nevertheless, the reports forecasts that the growth of LTE will bring opportunities for growth for Taiwanese manufacturers such as smartphone maker HTC, and tablet makers Acer and Asus, as well as broadband equipment players such as ZyXEL, Gemtek, Accton and Quanta.

A major attraction of LTE technology for network operators is the increased efficiency with which it uses mobile spectrum while its all-IP architecture greatly lowers the overall cost per bit. In a recent interview Telstra’s executive director of networks & access technologies told that “We don’t really see LTE being a radical new technology; we see it as a means of managing the data growth.”

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