One billion 4G connections expected by 2017

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The GSMA has predicted one in eight mobile connections of the more than eight billion total mobile connections forecast by 2017 will be on 4G

Mobile operator organisation the GSMA has predicted there will be one billion 4G connections globally by 2017, up from 176 million expected by the end of this year.

A study by the body shows that by 2017, it expects LTE – the technology most commonly used to provide 4G services – will account for about one in eight of the more than eight billion total mobile connections forecast by that point. The number of 4G networks is set to double, to nearly 500 across 128 countries.

The GSMA has said 4G coverage will also improve, from 20 per cent currently to more than 50 per cent by 2017.

In the United States, LTE networks already cover more than 90 per cent of the population, compared to 47 per cent population coverage in Europe and 10 per cent in Asia.

Half of total mobile connections in South Korea are now running on LTE networks, compared to 20 per cent in Japan and the United States – making South Korea the most advanced LTE market worldwide.

GSMA Chief Strategy Officer Hyunmi Yang said: “Our findings show that the global LTE market is at a ‘tipping point.’ In ‘Digital Pioneer’ markets such as the United States, South Korea and Japan, the migration to LTE networks is well advanced and operators are seeing increases in subscriber engagement and ARPU as a result.

“We are now seeing other markets make the move to LTE in greater numbers and the double-digit annual growth in global LTE connections forecast between 2013-2017 will see many more consumers around the world engage with high-speed mobile networks.”

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