3G/HSPA subscriptions grew by 48 million while GSM subscriptions fell by 120 million in the same quarter.
The number of LTE and LTE-Advanced subscriptions is expected to pass the 3G/WCDMA-HSPA global total in 2020, and possibly sooner.
Where’s LTE deployment
Asia region 56.8 percent
North America 19.6 percent
Europe 14 percent
Latin American and Caribbean 5.3 percent
MEA 4.3 percent
The number of LTE and LTE-Advanced subscriptions reached 1.29 billion by 31 March 2016. Over 645 million LTE subscriptions were gained during the past year, representing 100 percent annual growth.
Alan Hadden, vice president at GSA said: “LTE subscriptions were signed up during Q1 2016 at an average of 2 million per day and the rate is accelerating. LTE is now connecting over 1 in 6 mobile subscribers worldwide (17.4 percent).”
The Asia region, with over 734 million LTE subscriptions, grew its share of global LTE subscriptions quarter on quarter to reach 56.8 percent.
By March 2016 China had passed 511 million LTE subscriptions, adding 96.3 million in the quarter. North America remains the second largest LTE market with 253 million, though its share of the world market further declined 2.6 percent in the quarter to 19.6 percent of the global total. The European share of the global total is 14 percent.
Strong growth was recorded again in the Latin America and Caribbean region to reach 68.5 million 4G/LTE subscriptions. 11.1 million LTE subscriptions were added in the Middle East region in Q1 to reach 46.6 million. Russia has 16.7 million LTE subscriptions, Africa has 9 million LTE subscriptions, and India has almost 4 million.
There will be at least 550 commercially launched LTE networks by end 2016. The milestone of 500 commercially launched LTE networks was passed in May 2016 and reached in 77 months from first service launch, almost 5 years less than the time taken by 3G/WCDMA systems, and 6 months faster than HSPA systems.
More than 1 in 3 operators are investing in LTE-Advanced system deployments. Around 25 percent of LTE operators have commercially launched LTE-Advanced service including several LTE operators who are now introducing LTE-Advanced Pro technologies, sometimes referred to as 4.5G, which is established as a major industry trend in 2016. LTE-Advanced Pro systems can support peak downlink speeds up to 1 Gbps and beyond.