Asia-Pacific leads the world in LTE services

Naveen Mishra / Frost & Sullivan
LTE Insights

LTE is the fastest growing mobile communications technology, and in 2014, its adoption (as measured by subscribers) grew by 140% over the previous year. Significant deployments have made Asia the world’s leading region - bypassing North America and now boasting over 47% of all global subscriptions.

The region leads in not only in providing high speed data networks (LTE), but also in improvements to customer experience by differentiating services through large VoLTE deployments.

LTE connections worldwide and subscriptions by region, 2014By the end of 2015, a total of 460 commercial LTE networks are expected to be in use across the globe. A large number of them will be in Asia-Pacific, which will continue to be a leading region in 2015 and beyond.     

Top 5 LTE market trends in APAC

1. Commercial VoLTE deployments are surging:

The number of VoLTE deployments constantly rises on a global scale, and Asia-Pacific is no exception. The current technology interest among operators is twice as high as it was last year. Operators deploying VoLTE to offer greatly improved user experiences for their customers, as the tech enables much faster call-connection and superior quality of voice.

Along with benefits to consumers, telcos also gain higher capacity with existing spectrum, enabling them to serve more customers by VoLTE deployment. In April, Singapore’s M1 commercially launched VoLTE and pitches it as a service that offers higher call quality than standard calls.

A total of 80 telecom operators across 42 countries are currently investing in VoLTE and plan to launch the service commercially in the near future.

SK Telecom LTE subscribers, 2011-2014

2. Telcos are finding strong customer adoption, significant increase in data usage, and constant rise in ARPU

LTE finds strong customer adoption in large markets across APAC. It helps increase monthly LTE data consumption, boosts ARPUs, and reduces churn.

SKT in South Korea found that strong LTE adoption led to phenomenal growth in average monthly data usage as well as overall ARPU increase (see chart). By end-2014, 58.5% of its total customer base used LTE services. This adoption rate nearly tripled their monthly LTE data usage per subscriber, which grew from 1.1 GB in Q4 2011 to 3 GB in Q4 2014. The churn rate dropped to 1.7% in Q4 2014 from 2.4% in Q1 2013.

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