There’ll be two billion 4G LTE connections in 2018, according to Strategy Analytics, up from 238 million worldwide this year.
The figures are part of a new report that predicts LTE networks will account for almost half of mobile service revenue globally by 2018, up from less than 10% in 2013.
At the beginning of this year, 90% of all 4G LTE connections were in the USA, Japan and South Korea. Yet within 12 months, their share of global connections has fallen to 76%.
China is now expected to be the market that drives lower-cost 4G devices into other parts of the world during the next couple of years.
Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Director for Wireless Operators & Networks at Strategy Analytics, said “Mobile operators are increasingly looking to LTE for value creation in the market, with the technology currently generating average revenue per user (ARPU) almost four times the global average. That premium is more a result of the regional mix of LTE connections at present and we forecast just 1.5% annual growth in wireless service revenue over the next five years. In this scenario, LTE is more about securing higher-value customers than accelerating market growth.”
[Wireless Operator Performance Benchmarking Q3 2013 report]