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LTE subscribers to reach 300 million by 2015

90% of LTE market to be shared between North America, Western Europe, the Far East and China

LTE mobile networks will dramatically increase speed and capacity to overcome the effects of mobile data traffic explosion.
LTE mobile networks will dramatically increase speed and capacity to overcome the effects of mobile data traffic explosion.

LTE mobile broadband subscribers are expected to exceed 300 million globally by 2015, according to a Juniper Research study. Most of this growth however is to commence from 2012, but mobile operators are equipping themselves to handle the rapidly increasing data traffic from mobile applications and mobile internet usage, the report adds.

The report reveals that only one in every 20 subscribers will benefit from LTE, with the usage levels expected to be significantly higher in other regions such as North America, where it will be closer to one in five, as major operators plan deployments in the next six months.

The research pinpointed several hurdles that LTE needs to overcome in order to succeed. For instance, LTE needs to avoid the mistakes of 3G and ensure that suitable devices are available when networks are launched. LTE's main markets will be the developed nations of North America, Western Europe, the Far East and China, which together will account for 90% of the market by 2015, states the report.

Ray Hassan, president and GCC head of telecom vendor, Ericsson, told CommsMEA: "We are seeing a lot of consolidation happening among equipment providers worldwide, and more operators are now working towards a partnership approach as it has happened in Japan, US, North America and Western Europe."

Hassan agrees that it could take a couple of years for LTE to gain traction. "3G wasn't a big bang. From a global perspective, 3G took over five years to become a common practice. Similarly, with LTE, when networks are available, we are going to see some early adopters, particularly among those who are tech-savvy and high-end data users, he said.

He added that the foundations for LTE are being laid now, and it will take a couple of years before it can turn to be a mass market adoption.

"LTE is to see a strong evolution path in its usage right from the initial stages driven mainly by smart phones to the new business model of invisible broadband with machine-to-machine (M2M) applications," said Hassan.