LTE: Heading North?
Our new LTE report forecasts that the number of LTE mobile broadband subscribers will exceed 300 million globally by 2015. Allied with the news that LTE network commitments have raced past the 100 mark, also appearing only last week, the future for LTE is bright and the answer is a resounding YES. The benefits of LTE can be summarised as unrestricted internet, optimised infrastructure, ubiquitous access and increased opportunity. Yes, commitments to this global standard are growing, and the added impetus from the increased interest in TD-LTE from developing countries has cemented LTE's strong position for next generation mobile broadband in the eyes of many. Of course, don't expect an LTE service near you very soon, unless you're in parts of Sweden, Norway, and Uzbekistan or a customer of up to 20 more networks expected to switch on by the end of 2010. Numbers will take time to grow (the clue's in the name - long term) but 300 million is a healthy number. By 2015 of course it will still be early days. Why? Well because the time gap between network commitments and service launches can be considerable - from reports we've seen there's likely to be a glut of service launches over 2012/13. Bear in mind too that these users will be largely the heavy data users with the high end devices. Did I say "devices"?? Well actually this is an area where we envisage scope for LTE to serve as the catalyst for the introduction of innovative data devices and services, with increasing numbers of devices becoming connected on top of the usual laptops, dongles etc. Netbooks, tablets, game consoles, cameras. We're going to see LTE chipsets in these increasingly. But the scope is immense and there will be plenty more new devices coming out including some that we don't know about yet. Remember the iPhone wasn't available 5 years ago!