The total number of LTE connections worldwide is expected to surpass 2.3 bn by 2020, according to a report by Informa Telecoms & Media on behalf of telecom trade organisation 4G Americas.
There are currently 245m LTE connections across the world, giving a 4% market share of all cellular connections, with the North American region leading in terms of LTE subscriptions, with 47% of connections, followed by Asia Pacific with 39% and Western Europe with 10%.
By the end of March, North American region had 115 million LTE subscribers followed by Asia Pacific with 95 million subscribers.
The number of LTE subscribers is expected to double in next one year from 245 million recorded by March 2014.
Informa Telecoms & Media senior analyst Kristin Paulin said the rapid adoption of LTE, with worldwide connections more than doubling year-over-year to 1Q 2014, has been driven by smartphones.
"It takes an efficient network like LTE to handle the increase in mobile data traffic from smartphones," Paulin said.
The number of commercial LTE networks is expected to reach 350 by the end of 2014, rising from 294 networks today while mobile operators have committed for 500 LTE deployments so far.
There were about 112 million LTE subscribers in the US with smartphone penetration reaching 68%. Both US and Canada added 14 million LTE subscribers during the first quarter and added 62 million LTE connections year-over-year.
LTE subscriber numbers grew 50% in Latin American countries, from two million to thee million in the first quarter with the expansion of LTE networks and availability of LTE devices.
4G Americas president Chris Pearson said Latin America realised tremendous growth of LTE in the first quarter of this year.
"Brazil is leading the acquisition of LTE connections in the region, speared by the World Cup and Olympic events that have progressed the deployment of LTE network coverage," Pearson said.
"The demand for mobile broadband services across the region continues to positively affect the increase in LTE subscriptions."
Members of 4G Americas include Alcatel-Lucent, América Móvil, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, Cisco, CommScope, Entel, Ericsson, HP, Mavenir, Nokia, Openwave Mobility, Qualcomm, Rogers, Sprint, T-Mobile USA and Telefónica.
LTE is an acronym for Long-Term Evolution, commonly known as 4G LTE which is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies.
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