LTE subscriptions worldwide will reach approximately 1.9 billion by the end of 2016, up from 1.1 billion at the beginning of the year, according to a recent study by Strategy Analytics.
The research firm predicts the number of “4G” subscriptions will total 5.6 billion by 2022, representing 62% of all user-linked mobile subscriptions, including handsets, modems, tablets and connected devices, but not machine-to-machine connections.
The study also reveals revenue from 4G services will expand by 35% this year to $426 billion, and will represent 49% of overall mobile revenue. According to the research firm, 4G technology currently represents 25% of mobile connections.
The study also predicts 4G revenue growth will be offset by a 21% decline in 2G service revenue and a 19% decline in 3G revenue this year.
Some of the most mature 4G markets by the end of this year will be South Korea, with 4G market share of 90%, Japan at 82% and North America with 79%.
“The advanced markets of the USA, Japan and South Korea will see the vast majority of their revenue come from 4G LTE services this year, although China will also make a significant contribution,” said Phil Kendall, executive director of wireless operator strategies at Strategy Analytics. “Overtaking the USA to become the world’s largest 4G market in Q3 2015, China is the envy of other developing markets with over half of its 2016 revenue projected to come from 4G LTE.”
Strategy Analytics also predicts there will be 116 million “5G” subscriptions in 2022, compared to nearly 2 million in 2020, the year in which the initial deployments of 5G technology are expected to occur.
GSA confirms 503 LTE network deployments
In related news, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association said 503 operators have commercially launched LTE networks in 167 countries. GSA forecasts there will be at least 550 commercially launched LTE networks by the end of this year.
Around 25% of 4G operators have launched LTE-Advanced systems, according to the association.
“Several LTE operators are now introducing LTE-Advanced Pro technologies, sometimes referred to as 4.5G, which is established as a major industry trend in 2016. LTE-Advanced Pro systems can support peak downlink speeds up to 1 gigabit per second and beyond,” said Alan Hadden VP of research at GSA.