When 4G LTE (News - Alert) was announced, smartphone owners around the world rejoiced at the thought of not having to wait for the buffering loading wheel of doom to watch their favorite videos. This of course didn't mean everyone would have access to the technology, and depending what corner of the globe you call home, you might have to wait sometime before you can say goodbye to that dreaded wheel. According to one recent report, the global growth of LTE is progressing, but the North American market still holds the lion share of the deployments taking place.
The penetration rate of smartphones is one of the reasons the North American market is leading in LTE connections, with the U.S. enjoying a 68 percent rate.
The numbers for North America in Q1 2014 were as follows:
- Forty seven commercial LTE networks deployed and 123 million HSPA connections in U.S. and Canada
- Forecast of 139 million LTE mobile connections by the end of 2014
- LTE and HSPA mobile broadband represent 61 percent of all cellular connections in the region
- By 2019, LTE will have 85 percent share of market in North America
Globally the LTE market for the same period only represented four percent of all cellular connection, with a total of 294 commercial LTE networks, which is set to increase to 350 by the end of 2014.
By the end of March, North America had 47 percent of the connections followed by Asia Pacific with 39 percent, and Western Europe with 10 percent.
As the report mentions, there is more than 500 total commitments to LTE deployment by mobile operators, but financial considerations and regulatory hurdles still pose considerable challenges in deploying this next generation communications technology. However, the reduction in the price of smartphones with LTE capabilities and new low-priced units designed specifically for emerging countries entering the market place will continue to push operators to invest in the infrastructure. If all goes according to plan, the forecast estimates there will be more than 2.3 billion LTE connections by 2020.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi