4G/LTE Customers Will More Than Double By 2022, ABI Research Says

ABI Research estimates that the two billion global 4G (LTE) subscribers in early 2017 will rise to exceed four billion during 2022. This means that more than one out of two people globally will be using an LTE network by 2022.

abiThe mobile telecom landscape is changing rapidly, with nationwide 4G deployments near completion in most markets across the world. But the race is far from over, with the first Gigabit LTE networks beginning to appear and offering blazingly fast connections to end users that can reach up to 1Gbps download speeds.

“Although most LTE markets are already saturated and most operators deployed adequate nationwide coverage, there is still room to grow,” says Nick Marshall, Research Director at ABI Research. “Gigabit LTE appeared this month in Telstra’s network, and we expect more than 15 mobile operators to be offering Gigabit speed services to their subscribers by the end of 2017. This is a significant development, and one that will lead to the birth of new use cases from the increase in data speed available to end users.”

Although 5G discussions and embryonic developments are well under way, ABI Research expects LTE networks to be the backbone of broadband connectivity for many years to come; Gigabit LTE provides a major improvement and lays the foundation for 5G.

In terms of total mobile traffic, ABI Research estimates a total of 109 Exabytes during 2016, rising to 522 Exabytes during 2022. This means that an average user consumes 1.2GB per month today and will consume more than 5.7GB per month during 2022.

LTE is and will remain dominant throughout the forecast period. It carries 67 percent of total mobile traffic today, increasing to 82 percent during 2022, while 5G will carry a mere 13 percent of total mobile data. At the same time, operator profitability is under pressure. The Average Revenue per User per month (ARPU) in the U.S.—the most lucrative mobile market—is approximately $43 today and will decrease to less than $35 during 2022. Network operator CAPEX is also under pressure and will continue to decrease until 2019, after which 5G deployments will ramp up.

(For more information visit: https://www.abiresearch.com).