With LTE rollouts well underway around the world, one thing is certain — 4G will change the future of the mobile broadband experience for consumers and business users alike.
Only by understanding the trends and potential issues of this evolving technology and learning from existing best practices, will operators be able to take advantage of the huge opportunities that 4G technology offers.
Gartner estimates the worldwide LTE infrastructure market for radio and core service architecture evolution equipment will grow from $4.1 billion in 2012 to $21.1 billion in 2016. LTE is expected to be the fastest-growing segment within mobile network infrastructure, accounting for 7% of all mobile connections in 2016.
To give you an idea of this growth, 72 LTE operators launched commercial services as of May, with 25 networks launched his year, according to the GSMA. Commercial LTE services are now available in 37 countries around the world.
Gartner analysts believe operators are likely to charge a premium for accessing LTE data — at least at the early stages of the commercial launch. This will make data ARPU for LTE services higher than other data ARPU over the coming three to four years.
As competition and LTE handset access increases, however, Gartner believes that prices for LTE will decline and align with 3G access over time. Price will depend on the maturity of the LTE market, availability of LTE handsets and number of operators offering LTE services.