The global LTE market is set to nearly double this year, with revenues making it across the $10 billion threshold for the first time, Infonetics Research forecasts in a report published today.
Stephane Teral, Infonetics' head analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, identified the US, Japan and South Korea as the principal growth drivers behind the LTE market. In 2012, expansion in the mobile infrastructure market was held back by sluggish activity in the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) but they are set to see a return to major LTE investment this year.
In the fourth quarter of 2012, global spending on mobile infrastructure recorded sequential growth of 6%, reaching $10.8 billion. The amount covers revenues from 2G/3G, LTE and WiMAX. Infonetics attributes the increase to investment in North America and China, as well as ongoing upgrade projects across Europe.
In the LTE segment, 2012 revenues surged by 115%. Growth was propelled by the global explosion in new deployments and the sustained strength of the Japanese, North American and South Korean markets. According to data from the GSA, the number of commercial LTE networks reached 145 in January 2013 and subscribers in 66 countries now have access to LTE services.
The expansion in the mobile infrastructure market is primarily driven by increasing subscriber numbers, Infonetics adds in its report. The company says there were six billion wireless services users in 2012 and their number is forecast to rise to seven billion by 2017. Within that group, 569 million people will be LTE subscribers.
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