LTE adoption is in for robust growth over the next few years, according to two separate analyst firms, with one group predicting LTE will account for 10% of mobile users by 2015.
IHS iSuppli yesterday forecast that there will be 11.6 million LTE customers by the end of the year, and 744.2 million by 2015 – accounting for over one in ten of the 7.3 billion mobile subscribers by that time.
The analysts project 443% year-on-year growth in 2012, slowing to 214% in 2013 and 84% by 2015 as the installed base increases.
The unprecedented pace of adoption of LTE is down to the presence of a common air interface that had been lacking in the multiple standards of the 2G and 3G eras, iSuppli said.
Maravedis yesterday published its own forecasts of LTE adoption. The firm gave a more conservative by comparison estimate of 448 million LTE subscribers by 2016.
Only around 20% of these will be TD-LTE subscribers, Maravedis estimates, as a result of delays in the commercial availability of TD-LTE smartphones.
“Although we have seen some commercial TD-LTE deployments happening in 2011 outside Asia, these deployments will not drive the economies of scale expected from the deployments that will occur in China and India next year,” Maravedis analyst Basharat Ashai said.
“[As a result] volume production of TD-LTE handsets will not be realized until the end of 2012. We now expect TD-LTE smartphones will be ready for commercial launch in early 2013.”
As of the end of the third quarter, there have been 35 commercial deployments of FDD LTE, with the world's LTE subscriber base reaching 6.25 million, he said.