While preparations for fifth-generation (5G) wireless telecommunication services are already underway in places like South Korea, Japan and the US, 4G rollout around the world still leaves a lot to be desired. It is only in the last year or two that many countries around the world are getting a taste of high speed wireless net connectivity, which has thus far eluded most people across vast stretches of the planet. That, however, is apparently changing rapidly, if the latest report from London, UK-based analysis and consultancy firm, Ovum is anything to go by. The firm claims to have done extensive research, which shows that as many as 1.05 billion people around the world now subscribe to LTE services, having gone past the one billion mark late last year.
For the uninitiated, LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the foremost standard for fourth-generation wireless telecom services worldwide, and supports data speeds that’s several orders of magnitude higher than what third-generation networks like HSPA can technologically allow. However, while the number of 1.05 billion in itself looks impressive at first glance, the reality is that just five countries currently account for as much as three-quarters of all LTE subscribers globally. While China is the nation with the largest number of LTE subscribers with 35 percent of all LTE users, the US accounts for 21 percent, whereas Japan, South Korea and the UK chip in with nine, four and three percent respectively. The rest of the market is distributed between a number of regions, including Brazil, Germany, France and a whole host of other nations.
Ovum, meanwhile, has also come out with its own set of predictions that seem to claim that by the year 2020, the LTE landscape might look a whole lot different than what it does currently. According to the company’s projections, about half the world’s population will be using LTE services by then, with 3.62 billion being the exact number that’s being reported by the firm. While China will continue to lead the pack, the US and India will be level pegging, with 10 percent of global LTE users expected to come from each of the two nations. While Japan, Brazil, Germany and the UK will continue to remain fairly high up on the list, Russia is expected to be yet another prominent entrant to the lineup. It remains to be seen how quickly LTE becomes the primary standard for wireless communication worldwide, but according to Mr. Mark Newman, Ovum’s Chief Research Officer, LTE adoption is set to double by 2017 and triple by 2019, and “today’s majority 2G subscribers will become a rarity, with 3G and 4G accounting for 85% of all subscriptions by end-2020”.