LTE infrastructure investment is expected to grow nearly 10 percent year-on-year in the next five years to support the growth in subscriber base.
The LTE subscriber base will exceed 3.5 billion by 2020, increasing at a CAGR of 20.8 percent in 5 year period.
The number of 4G LTE subscribers will reach nearly 1.37 billion in 2015 against nearly 650 million in 2014, said ABI Research. The growth is fuelled by investment plans by major telecoms.
Verizon Wireless has selected telecom network vendor Ericsson to deploy small cells or micro-basestations to densify its network capabilities. Verizon has allocated nearly $500 million for small cells deployment.
T-Mobile US has tied up with Nokia Networks to explore small cell deployments that operate using LTE-Unlicensed technology. T-Mobile US and Nokia Networks will jointly establish a pre-standards LTE-U solution which uses Nokia Flexi Zone with Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) functionality to provide additional LTE capacity and better network performance.
T-Mobile US will also conduct joint trials with Ericsson on LAA technology or LTE-U in the 5.x GHz band later this year.
Telecoms in Singapore are considering small cells deployments to boost surfing speeds in densely populated areas. The small cells, which are one-eighth the size of traditional basestations can be mounted on ceilings to ease data traffic when an area becomes too congested.
Singtel has already deployed small cells in 3Q 2014, while the remaining two telecoms plan to deploy small cells island-wide to boost their 4G capabilities by 2017.
“Telecom operators can expect to improve their 4G service revenues by investing in small cell technology as users download more mobile data with faster surfing speeds,” said Cheri Wong, research analyst at ABI Research.
TD-LTE rollouts in China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom will drive 4G penetration in Asia Pacific to increase by more than 2.5 times to 7.9 percent. 4G penetration will further increase by more than 150 percent to 20.8 percent in 2015.
The telecom analysis report does not talk about 4G telecom investments by Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel. Airtel is expected to expand its 4G network, while Reliance Jio Infocomm is planning to launch services in the next two months.