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LTE-A Subscriptions Could Reach 500 Million by the End of 2018

The LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) subscriptions will take an important role in the mobile subscriber market, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 295% between 2013 and 2018 to reach 500 million, which will represent 34% of the overall 1.47 billion LTE-related subscriptions.

Meanwhile, total LTE subscriptions for 1Q-2013 increased by 37.5% quarter-on-quarter, reaching 108 million. North America will be the most aggressive LTE-A market, followed by Asia-Pacific and Western Europe.

ABI Research predicts North America will commercially launch LTE-A by the end of 2013 and mobile subscriptions will approach 220 million by 2018, contributing 44% of the global LTE-A market.

“All the major US mobile operators in the United States have shown their commitment to LTE-Advanced, and LTE-Advanced upgrades are underway,” stated Jake Saunders, VP and practice director of core forecasting. In Asia-Pacific, the LTE-A subscriptions will notch up 159 million by 2018, while in Western Europe, it should reach 55 million.

Confronted with an explosion in mobile data traffic and a need for greater bandwidth, Carrier Aggregation, an essential feature of LTE-A, can help operators to build greater transmission capacity, relieving stress on legacy spectrum assets.

“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,” commented Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research. “SK Telecom is aggregating two frequency bands in the 850 MHz and 1800 MHz bands to commercially launch its LTE-A services in September 2013. All the signs indicate it is on schedule to do so.”

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