Analyst firm, Ovum, have stated that LTE subscriptions globally have hit the 250 million milestone in the first quarter of 2014. Here are key points from the Ovum release:
- the US is the world’s largest LTE market, with the two leading US operators, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, accounting for 35% of global LTE subscriptions
- LTE deployments and usage are still at an early stage globally, except for North America, where LTE represented over one-third of mobile broadband usage in 1Q14
- LTE deployment in Africa is slow, with only 22 operating networks, 14 of which are from operators upgrading from 3G, and the 8 remaining networks are deployed by ISPs (like Smile, Spectranet, and Swift in Nigeria), having upgraded from WiMAX or started from scratch with LTE
- There were 1.6m LTE subscriptions in Africa in 1Q14
- Japan, Korea and Australia are the second, third and fourth largest markets in the world respectively and the three combined accounted for 32% of the global LTE subscriptions in 1Q14.
There are active LTE networks in 22 African countries, including South Africa and Nigeria, but LTE licences are yet to be issued to GSM operators in Nigeria. Subscribers to ISPs like Smile, Swift and Spectranet in Nigeria are part of the very small fraction of mobile internet subscribers globally with access to LTE.