By 2020, Expect A Boom In LTE Adoption

by CXOtoday News Desk    Oct 26, 2015


Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks are now firmly established in the U.S. with the majority of mobile subscribers using LTE devices. To meet the increasing demand for mobile bandwidth, especially to support video, the larger mobile operators are in the process of upgrading their LTE networks and densifying the cellular architecture.

LTE is set to become the leading technology for cellular IoT devices in 2019, according to a report from Berg Insight. The researcher forecasts that global shipments of cellular IoT devices will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.1 percent over the next five years to reach 239.7 million units in 2020. Sales of LTE devices started to take off this year and are expected to surpass GPRS devices in four years’ time.

The report says the economics of 4G have dramatically improved with LTE Cat-0 and the upcoming LTE-M standard, removing any significant barriers against migration from 2G.

In India, for example, the number of mobile subscriptions in India is likely to jump to 1.4 billion by 2020, against 970 million in 2014, says telecom major Ericsson. The increase is due to the whopping rise in affordable devices and services, according to a report.

The India appendix of the Ericsson Mobility Report, notes that LTE subscriptions are likely to reach more than 230 million, forming around 17 percent of the total subscription base by 2020.

Not only in India, but LTE is set to become the leading technology for cellular IoT devices across the globe. Say, between 2013 and 2014, next-generation broadband and LTE coverage made big jumps in coverage availability in EU countries, according to a new study by IHS and commissioned by the European Commission. 

LTE coverage recorded the highest growth of all access technologies in rural areas as well, increasing from about 15 percent in 2013 to 27 percent in 2014. 

iGR, a market research consultancy forecasts that the LTE market will continue to grow and dominate the U.S. mobile landscape for the foreseeable future. iGR also expects that subsequent versions of LTE and the associated new features will form the basis of new 5G networks in the next few years. To support additional LTE capacity, mobile operators are increasingly refarming 2G spectrum, as well as acquiring additional spectrum resources through auctions and private transactions.

The report further predicts that 3G will only serve as an interim technology in cellular IoT, peaking in 2018, due to the direct move from 2G to 4G. Instead the main alternative to 4G cellular technologies will be Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networking technologies, with the 3GPP’s recent initiative to define a new narrowband radio technology for IoT (NB-IOT) creating a unique opportunity for the mobile industry to include a new set of applications into its domain. 

In Africa too, LTE 4G services now provided in 24 African countries, and many more operators expected to launch commercial 4G LTE services by the end of the year. As LTE subscriptions in Africa continue to grow, and with 50% of the region’s population expected to be covered by LTE networks by 2018.