The number of LTE subscribers will move close to 2 billion by the end of this year and will grow almost threefold by 2022, according to Strategy Analytics latest report. The firm predicts that there will be 1.9 billion user-linked 4G subscriptions, including modems, tablets, handsets etc, by the end of 2016.
The report further says that 4G service will overtake 3G this year and account for 49% of carrier revenues and 25% share of year-end subscriptions.
The report, “Worldwide Cellular User Forecast 2016-2022”, predicts 4G revenue growth will be offset by a 21% decline in 2G service revenue and 19% decline in 3G revenue in 2016.
This report forecasts user-linked subscriptions (excluding M2M) for handsets, modems, tablets, and connected devices, and service revenue for 6 regions and 88 countries worldwide, from 2006 to 2022.
Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Director Wireless Operator Strategies, added “Commercial 5G services will begin in a small number of markets in 2020, mainly in the USA and advanced Asian markets. We forecast that user-linked 5G connections will grow from 2 million in 2020 to 116 million in 2022, with modems and routers driving early volume.”
4G will start to dominate even from earnings perspective as well this year. The technology revenue will grow by 35% to US$426 billion this year, accounting for 49% of global mobile revenues, despite the fact that 4G represents just 25% of connections, says Strategy Analytics.
While the revenue share coming from 4G will be as high as 90% in South Korea, 82% in Japan and 79% in North America, there are still many markets where the technology has yet to fully take off. 4G revenue share will be as low as 10% in the Middle East and Africa, for example.
“The advanced markets of the USA, Japan, and South Korea will see the vast majority of their revenue come from 4G LTE services this year, though China will also make a significant contribution,” said Phil Kendall, executive director, wireless operator strategies, at Strategy Analytics. “Overtaking the USA to become the world’s largest 4G market in Q3 2015, China is the envy of other developing markets with over half of its 2016 revenue projected to come from 4G LTE,” he added.