KARACHI ( MEDIA )
Acceleration of LTE rollout plans by operators worldwide will result in 4G networks covering more than a third of the global population by the end of the year, according to a report from GSMA Intelligence. Coverage is set to increase from 27 percent at the end of 2014 to over 35 percent by the end of this year, with the report predicting that 4G networks will cover 63 percent of the global population by 2020. The number of 4G connections is also growing rapidly, more than doubling from 200 million at the end of 2013 to almost half a billion (490 million) at the end of last year. By the end of 2015, global 4G connections are set to reach 875 million, accounting for 12 percent of total connections. A total of 7 percent of all global mobile connections were running on 4G networks at the end of 2014, up from 3 percent a year earlier.
The report described the move to 4G as one of the fastest network technology migrations ever seen, forecasting that global LTE connections will grow at more than 30 percent a year (CAGR) from 2014 to 2020. There are currently 352 live 4G operators worldwide, the largest number of which are in Europe, with 108 networks providing LTE, compared with 62 in the Asia Pacific region and 47 in North America. However, Asia Pacific has by far the largest number of 4G connections (232 million), followed by North America (157 million) and Europe (69 million). Despite only launching its first commercial 4G network in late 2013, China is on track to reach 300 million 4G connections by the end of this year, overtaking the US to become the world’s largest 4G market, said the report.