4G broadband via LTE has a long, slow road ahead

22 Nov 2011

Uptake of fourth generation (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband is expected to reach 428m users over the next five years – just 6pc of the global subscriber population, according to Juniper.

Most of this growth is expected to occur from 2012 onwards, with many mobile operators making preparations now in order to realise their roll out targets.

The new 4G LTE Opportunities report from Juniper Research found that with the rate of LTE network commitments at an all-time high, network vendors have significantly improved their position to offer products and solutions to network operators.

Consequently, the total number of LTE base station deployments will reach almost 1m by 2014.

In the early years, LTE will be dominated by the uptake of enterprise subscribers, but during 2013 consumer subscribers will begin to sign up in volume and begin to overtake enterprise subscribers by 2015.

Report author Nitin Bhas added: “With LTE being offered as a premium-level service initially, enterprise subscribers will be attracted by the improved data speeds and the service guarantees that will be offered.

“The emerging factor that will drive consumer take-up later in the forecast and beyond is the embedding of LTE technology in consumer devices,” Bhas said.

Tablets and smartphones to dominate LTE take-up

The report found that LTE smartphones and tablets will dominate the LTE connected end-user device market, accounting for 50pc of the total LTE subscribers by 2016.

LTE smartphones are expected to achieve early market traction in the enterprise market, with high-end data users migrating to the faster technology.

Juniper also notes that enterprise users are leading the early stages of LTE-enabled tablet adoption; however, we expect consumer users to exceed enterprise users by volume from 2013.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years