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Forecast: Billions Will Have High-Speed Mobile Broadband Within 5 Years

High-speed mobile broadband is poised to explode within the next five years. According to a new forecast, by 2019, subscriptions to LTE and LTE-Advanced will reach into the billions.

According to market research firm ABI Research, as of 2013, total LTE subscriptions had reached just 229.7 million worldwide. But that figure will grow at a compound rate of 43.6 percent each year through 2019, reaching about 2 billion total, driven in large part by the advent of LTE-Advanced. By 2019, more than one-third of those 2 billion subscribers — about 750 million — will have LTE-Advanced, which promises peak download speeds of 1 Gbps and typical download speeds of 100 Mbps to 300 Mbps and uploads of 10 Mbps to 70 Mbps. (Korea launched its first LTE-Advanced service last year and gained a total of 1 million subscribers.)

"Among the LTE subscription growth, Asia-Pacific contributes the most with a 49 percent market share. The second greatest contributor is North America with an 18 percent share," said Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research, in a prepared statement. "The large population base in Asia combined with rapid LTE network deployment and cost-competitive smartphones has accelerated the remarkable subscriber adoption."

North America at present has about 43.1 million LTE subscribers, according to ABI's reckoning. But, if the current distribution holds steady, that could reach 360 million by 2019 — enough for perhaps two subscriptions per household. About 134 million of those could have LTE-Advanced.

"All the major mobile operators are showing their commitments to carrier aggregation capable LTE-Advanced technology, which can better handle the anticipated explosion in mobile data traffic with greater bandwidth," ABI reported. "North America will be the most aggressive LTE-Advanced market, followed by Asia-Pacific and Western Europe."

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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