The adoption of LTE Advanced, which promises data speeds that are around three times faster than standard 4G connections, is expected to grow dramatically over the next five years. According to a report from ABI Research, the number of LTE-A subscriptions worldwide will reach 500 million by 2018, which would be a compound annual growth rate of 295% since 2013.
Those 500 million connections would represent 34% of all 4G subscriptions in 2018.
North America is expected to be the fastest-growing LTE-A market, followed by Asia-Pacific and Western Europe.
Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research, said “By 1Q-2013, LTE subscriptions in South Korea reached 20 million, which is a remarkable 37% of its overall total subscriber base. There has been tremendous pent-up demand for ultra-high speed data services. SK Telecom is aggregating two frequency bands in the 850MHz and 1800MHz bands to commercially launch its LTE-A services in September 2013. All the signs indicate it is on schedule to do so.”
As well as offering faster speeds to consumers, LTE-A is attractive to mobile network operators because they can combine separate spectrum bands to improve data rates.