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LTE Achieves 39% Market Share Worldwide

1Q 2018: LTE Market Share 76% and Penetration Exceeds 100% in North America – LTE Market Share 32% in Latin America & Caribbean

BELLEVUE, Wash. – June 22, 2018 – LTE technology, the most widely used wireless cellular technology worldwide, achieved more than 38.5 percent market share in the first quarter of 2018 (1Q 2018) providing 4G wireless access to a large portion of the world’s population with 3.2 billion global connections. 5G Americas, the industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas, today announced LTE’s impressive momentum for 1Q 2018 in North America, Latin America and throughout the world according to data from Ovum.

North America’s market share for LTE at 76 percent exceeds all other world regions; the next highest world regions are Oceania, Eastern and South Eastern Asia with LTE share of 59 percent followed by Western Europe at 46 percent. Latin America and the Caribbean had significant growth of LTE market share to 31.5 percent at the end of 1Q 2018.

“5G is on the horizon and will be built upon the most solid of foundations – LTE – which is the current workhorse for the industry and offers mobile broadband global coverage for many years to come,” stated Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas. “We are already hearing news of planned 5G deployments beginning later in 2018 and early 2019, however, LTE will continue to grow until 2022, when we will begin to see some substantial uptake in 5G connections.”

LTE is currently deployed on 597 networks worldwide of which 251 are LTE-Advanced (TeleGeography-GlobalComms Database). The global deployment success of LTE provides the basis for mobile broadband wireless coverage and roaming for the billions of LTE subscribers worldwide.

1Q 2018 – North America

LTE achieved 365 million connections and a penetration rate higher than 100 percent in March 2018 compared to the population of 364 million in the U.S and Canada. There will be no other region worldwide predicted to reach 100 percent penetration for LTE prior to the end of 2019. This penetration rate is forecast to rise to 131 percent in 2021 after which time new 5G connections will begin to impact LTE subscriptions and penetration rates. At the end of March 2018, the next highest world regions were: Oceania, Eastern and South Eastern Asia at 76 percent; Western Europe at 62 percent; and then a substantial drop to Eastern Europe at 37 percent, Middle East at 36 percent and Latin America & the Caribbean at 34 percent.

In addition to having a significantly higher penetration rate, the U.S. and Canada also have the highest market share for LTE in comparison to all mobile wireless technologies with 76 percent. Market share represents the percentage of mobile wireless connections that are LTE technology versus all other mobile wireless technologies.

  • 365 million LTE connections at 1Q 2018; increase of 48 million annually or 15 percent growth
  • LTE is forecast to reach 491 million connections at the end of 2021 (including M2M)
  • 31 million 5G connections forecast in 2021 – the largest share of 5G connections in all the global regions

1Q 2018 – Latin America and the Caribbean

Jose Otero, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 5G Americas, summarized trends in the region, “LTE coverage continues to increase, reaching over 90% of the population in countries like Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay. Operators’ investment in the technology continues as LTE-A proliferates in the region and a higher penetration of Smartphone allows a greater number of individuals to have access to mobile broadband technologies. 5G trials continue to take place in the region with operators announcing the launch of the first 5G commercial network during the next 12 to 18 months.”

LTE’s market share increased from 29 percent to 32 percent from year-end 2017 through end of March 2018 and is forecast to be the most widely used cellular technology in the region by the end of 2019.  

  • 694 million total mobile wireless subscriptions
    • 219 million LTE connections; 78 million added year-over-year from 1Q 2017 for 56 percent growth
    • LTE is forecast to reach 258 million connections at the end of 2018 (forecast includes M2M)
    • LTE will become the most popular cellular technology in 2019
    • By the end of 2022, LTE is forecast to reach half a billion connections (forecast includes M2M)

1Q 2018 – Global

At the end of March 2018, global LTE connections reached 3.2 billion; LTE is forecast to achieve 4 billion connections in 2019 and pass 5 billion connections in 2021. This growth is phenomenal, more than doubling from 1.5 billion LTE connections in June 2016 in two years’ time to 3 billion. Also, notable- LTE market share reached 38.5 percent at the end of March 2018 and will continue its aggressive rise over the coming years.

“Oceania, Eastern and Southeastern Asia region play a significant role in the global growth of LTE subscriptions, accounting for 41 percent of all LTE subscribers by 2022, compared to 32 percent of all cellular subscribers worldwide. And it’s interesting to note that, while LTE continues to see phenomenal growth surpassing 50 percent in 2020, 5G begins to make its inroads beginning by 2022, with some regions – particularly North America and Oceania, Eastern and Southeastern Asia – starting to see some LTE subscriber declines as a result,” explained Kristin Paulin, Senior Analyst at Ovum.

  • 907 million new LTE subscriptions year-over-year from 1Q 2017
  • LTE connections forecast to reach 5.6 billion by year-end 2022 (forecast includes M2M)
  • LTE global market share forecast to reach 60 percent by year end 2022

For more information and to view a variety of statistical charts on the 3GPP family of technologies, visit Subscriber and forecast data is provided by Ovum.


About 5G Americas: The Voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas

5G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization’s mission is to advocate for and foster the advancement and full capabilities of LTE wireless technologies and their evolution to 5G, throughout the ecosystem’s networks, services, applications and wirelessly connected devices in the Americas. 5G Americas is invested in developing a connected wireless community while leading 5G development for all the Americas. 5G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. More information is available at or Twitter @5GAmericas.

5G Americas’ Board of Governors members include: América Móvil, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, Cisco, CommScope, Ericsson, Intel, Kathrein, Mavenir, Nokia, Qualcomm Incorporated, Samsung, Shaw Communications Inc., Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc., Telefónica and WOM. 


5G Americas
Vicki Livingston
+1 414 688 9000

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