Press Release

Global number of LTE subscribers grows by almost a billion in the last year

20 July2018, London –  The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) confirms that LTE now accounts for more than a third of all mobile subscriptions globally (38.5%).  The latest data, provided to GSA by Ovum, reveals that there were 3.2 billion LTE subscriptions around the world at the end of March 2018, compared to 2.3 billion subscriptions a year earlier.
The fast growth of LTE is expected to continue over the next five-year period, reaching 5.6 billion subscriptions by 2022 (60% of all global mobile subscriptions), with year-on-year growth only incrementally slowing once 5G becomes more widely introduced.

Meanwhile the share of subscriptions accounted for by earlier technologies such as W-CDMA, GSM and others (namely analogue, CDMA, iDEN, PDC, TD-SCDMA and US TDMA) will respectively drop to 25%, 9% and less than 1% of subscriptions globally by 2022.

The Asia Pacific (APAC) is the main driving force behind global LTE adoption. Operators in the region added 656 million new LTE subscriptions in the twelve-months to the end of Q1 2018, representing a 46% growth rate. The Asia-Pacific now accounts for 65% of all LTE subscriptions worldwide. Despite this, it was not the fastest growing region for LTE subscriptions in percentage terms. Markets with speedier growth were Africa (67%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (56%).

Ovum’s data predicts that 5G is set for strong growth after 2019. Next year is expected to deliver fewer than half a million subscribers. However, the new technology is set to gain momentum in subsequent years, reaching nearly 400 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2022.

Joe Barrett, President of GSA, said, “LTE continues to be adopted globally. The APAC region leads in global share of LTE subscriptions and continues to post healthy growth figures. We have also seen exciting developments in the Africa and Latin America and Caribbean regions with impressive year-on-year growth. Taking into consideration these developments, GSA expects global LTE subscriptions to grow by 68% in the period to December 2022. 5G will start to emerge as a significant technology from 2019. By 2022, 5G subscriptions should account for over 4% of global subscriptions. From that foundation global growth will continue to accelerate.’’

By Joe Barrett On 20th July 2018