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LTE subscribers spurt to 20.5 crore by 2014

Posted: 12 May 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE handsets  2011 market growth  LTE subscribers 

ABI Research's latest report "4G Subscriber, Device, and Networks Market Data" indicates that the number of mobile long-term evolution (LTE) subscribers would spurt to 20.5 crore by 2014 from about 1.6 crore by end-2011. The report also projects that 72 per cent of LTE subscribers in 2014 would use handsets.

ABI Research forecasting vice-president Jake Saunders said LTE—the latest standard in the mobile network technology tree that operates in a new 700MHz public-safety radio band—started to gain "critical momentum" during the second quarter of this year with 12 countries currently offering commercial LTE services.

Saunders said a wide range of business models underpin global LTE services in both the developed and emerging markets.

In Germany, Saunders said T-Mobile's LTE service, called "Call & Surf Via Funk," is priced at Rs.2,420.09 ($53) per month in areas where xDSL fixed-broadband services are limited. The price entitles end-users to a fixed telephony line and an LTE connection, using a Huawei-manufactured wireless router offering download speeds of up to 3Mbit/s.

In Japan, NTT DoCoMo's LTE service, branded "Xi" (pronounced "Crossy"), allows customers to enjoy high-broadband speeds in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka areas. About seven per cent of the population subscribe to the service through the coverage of 1,000 base stations.

The ABI report said NTT DoCoMo has targeted 70 per cent coverage by 2014 with the establishment of 35,000 base stations. By then, tariffs would range from Rs.547.95 ($12) and Rs.3,607.31 ($79) per month.

In Uzbekistan, TeliaSonera has rolled out 4G LTE coverage to UCell's 54 lakh subscribers, with fees starting at Rs.2,283.11 ($50) per month. Ucell, which was awarded a 4G licence in July 2010, has tapped ZTE for the LTE roll-out.

The ABI report explained that a key LTE success factor will be LTE smartphones. "The shift to 4G differs from the shift to 3G because of smartphones' capabilities," says ABI research director Phil Solis.

"In the US, people are actively looking for 4G as a handset feature, spurred by heavy marketing of 4G smartphones. Sprint's success with WiMAX smartphones is an indicator of the scale Verizon Wireless and AT&T can achieve with LTE smartphones this year," Solis said.

In March 2011, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association reported that there were 100 LTE-ready devices, but only 13 per cent were smartphones and media tablets.

However, ABI Research said LTE devices will see higher volumes since it is being used by mobile networks for increased data transfer speeds.

The ABRI report contains regional and selected country-level segmentation for the 4G market. It is part of the firm's 4G Research Service.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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