iSuppli: LTE subs forecast to grow to over 73 million this year, 1.2B in 2016

Global LTE subscribers are expected to reach 73.3 million by the end of the, says a report by IHS iSuppli. The “Consumer and Communications Market Tracker Report” predicts triple digit growth in 2013, with LTE subs to total nearly 2.6 million.

By 2016, LTE subscribers are expected to reach nearly 1.2 billion, according to the August 2012 report.

Subscribers to “older 3G” technology will continue to outnumber “4G LTE” users, but the pace of growth for 3G will be “significantly slower,” according to the iSuppli release, and not exceed 35 percent at any point from this year onward.

“The chief agent for the wireless industry’s continuing growth lies in the high-speed, low-latency performance delivered by 4G LTE,” said Francis Sideco, senior principal analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “Providing much faster access speeds than comparable 3.5G and 3.75G technologies, 4G LTE makes real-time applications such as video streaming and multiperson gaming usable, not just possible. In turn, the increasing penetration of 4G is a factor in furthering the convergence of smartphones, tablets, computers and other devices. Such convergence allows manufacturers to create a market strategy in which applications can be leveraged across multiple devices through a common user interface—an increasingly important factor not just in a manufacturer’s capability to compete, but also a key element for success in the adoption of a device.”

Regardless of the drivers for adoption, nearly every LTE user will be an HD voice user with the rollout of VoLTE, HD Voice News believes.  The only caveat is some carriers – MetroPCS comes to mind – are choosing to delay the introduction of HD voice services, in part due to spectrum issues.

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