LTE subscriptions passed the 1 billion subscription mark during the final quarter of 2015 and are set to continue strong double-digit growth for the next 5 years, according to global analyst firm Ovum.

Ovum’s latest research reveals that the overall count is top heavy, with 5 countries accounting for nearly three-quarters of all subscriptions. China is by far the biggest driver for growth, accounting for half of net additions during the last quarter and 35% of the total.

Growth will remain robust through 2020, as China’s fellow BRIC members and Indonesia rise into the top 10 to dominate net additions and maintain annual LTE subscription growth rates well above 20%. Of particular significance is the rapid rate of LTE adoption, which has taken around half as long as W-CDMA to reach various milestones.

Ovum’s Chief Research Officer, Mark Newman, notes: “Reaching 1 billion LTE subscriptions has taken less than 6 years compared with more than 10 years required for W-CDMA. This highlights just how critical wireless data speeds have become, as operators aggressively roll out 4G networks to meet consumer demand for capacity, which continues unabated.”

“We also see LTE subscriptions doubling by 2017 and tripling by 2019 as smartphones become cheaper and mobile broadband services become more and more indispensable. Indeed, today’s majority 2G subscribers will become a rarity, with 3G and 4G accounting for 85% of all subscriptions by end-2020,” concludes Newman.

Source: ZDNet: 4G LTE subscriptions reach 1b: Ovum, by Mark Newman, January 28, 2016.

Mark Newman is Chief Research Officer of Ovum’s telecoms research business. Mark has a focus on the role of operators in broadband and Internet markets, and the new business models and partnerships they need to pursue to remain profitable. He spends much of his time briefing telecoms operators globally on their strategies. Mark has 20 years of experience in the telecoms sector as a journalist, analyst, and thought leader. He is a regular speaker and moderator at international conferences, and is often quoted in the global business press. Mark contributes a Telecoms Industry Outlook module to Informa Telecoms & Media’s Mini-MBA Programme.

Ovum is a global technology research and advisory firm. For more information, please visit

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