Press Release

LTE subscriptions forecast to peak in 2022

21 December 2018, London – The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) confirms that LTE now accounts for 44% of all mobile subscriptions globally, and will continue growing until 2022. The latest data, provided to GSA by Ovum, reveals that there were 3.74 billion LTE subscriptions around the world at the end of September 2018, compared to 2.77 billion subscriptions a year earlier. Forecasts indicate that by the end of December 2022, LTE subscriptions will reach 5.96 billion, but will fall in 2023 as 5G subscriptions start to grow strongly.

The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region remains a strong driving force behind the global rise in LTE subscriptions, adding 684 million new LTE subscriptions in the twelve months to the end of Q3 2018, representing a 39% annual growth rate. The Asia-Pacific region now accounts for two-thirds of all LTE subscriptions worldwide.

The African market continued with the highest growth rate in percentage terms at 87%, though from a low base; the Latin American and Caribbean region also sustained its rapid rise in LTE subscriptions with 44% year-on-year growth.  The Middle Eastern and North American LTE markets exhibited the slowest YoY growth rates, but both still demonstrated double digit rises in subscriptions.

The total number of mobile customers worldwide has been growing more steadily (up by 4.4% in the year) as subscriptions to GSM continue to fall (by 20% year-on-year respectively). W-CDMA subscriptions were static over the past year. 5G subscriptions are forecast to grow rapidly from 2019 to 1.3 billion by the end of 2023.

Joe Barrett, President of GSA, said, “With 5G now a reality, we can see the exciting future that lies ahead, but it is important to note that LTE will underpin the bulk of mobile services for the next several years – subscriptions won’t peak for another four years and there is huge investment still going into the rollout of LTE, LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro around the world that GSA continues to track, along with 5G developments.”

Note to editors: some numbers in the Ovum WICS data have been restated since the last quarter.

About the GSA

GSA promotes the 3GPP technology roadmap – 3G; 4G; 5G including NB-IoT, LTE-M, VoLTE, LTE-U, LAA, LTE Broadcast, mobile device availability and features, etc. and represents companies across the worldwide mobile ecosystem engaged in the supply of infrastructure, semiconductors, test equipment, devices, applications and mobile support services. The GSA Executive Board comprises Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung covering close to 100% of all mobile network infrastructure deployments.

For more information, please visit the GSA corporate website at Follow the GSA on Twitter: @gsacom.

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By Joe Barrett On 21st December 2018