LTE has seen arguably the fastest growth of any mobile network technology deployed so far. With more than 74 networks live in more than 30 counties, covering every populated continent, LTE is enjoying the most successful launch of any mobile technology in history, with the most swiftly deployed networks. There is a proliferation of LTE-enabled devices in attractive form factors and at desirable price points, and nearly all LTE handsets are smartphones, which provide operators with more opportunities for profitability. According to Informa Telecoms & Media’s LTE forecasts, there were 62 million LTE subscribers at end-December, and this number is expected to increase to 133 million in just a year.
However, this kind of success does not come without challenges: Ninety percent of the LTE market is held by five operators, and certain regions are lagging due to reasons including unclear regulation and spectrum-license delays. Nevertheless, certain operators are providing learning experiences for the whole market, the leaders being Verizon Wireless, AT&T and those in South Korea, where operators have already deployed LTE to cover almost all of the population.
LTE has arrived at an appropriate stage of the evolution of mobile operator business: Users are becoming more aware of the benefits of data services, OTT applications are garnering success, and there is rising demand for mobile data services and smartphones – all influences that promote the adoption of LTE. Initial end-user feedback indicates that LTE services have been well received and that the higher-speed, lower-latency network offers serious advantages compared with previous networks.
This is an extract from an ITM white paper by ITM Principal Analyst , Dimitris Mavrakis. Download the full paper to read more.