Generally speaking, I haven’t followed the growth of wireless as it relates to 4G and/or LTE. Usually, I look at the total number of wireless subscribers either globally, 6.4 billion, or by region, North America with 320 million cellular connections. However, today I discovered an organization called 4G Americas and learned that this group tracks specifically the deployment and adoption of Third Generation Partnership Project technologies. These mobile technologies include GSM (Global Mobile Services), LTE (Long Term Evolution) and 4G (Fourth Generation) mobile.
Understanding the wireless marketplace and ecosystem is important to ANPI and our customer base as many of our customers/carriers provide mobile service. And obviously based upon the growth of LTE connections from 4 million to over 22 million in 12 months rather successfully. Earlier this month 4G Americas in association with Informa Telecoms and Media released updated statistics for global wireless subscription and what is commonly referred to as 4G LTE.
According to Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. “At the third quarter of last year, there were 4.5 million LTE connections and 36 LTE deployments worldwide. We expect about 130 commercial LTE networks by the end of this year, the ramping up of subscriptions and many new devices in the offering with the holiday season approaching.”
Although, the standards bodies have agreed to allow for these LTE deployments to be referred to as “4G”, they do not technically meet the transport speeds called for in the standard. 4G actually requires that a mobile subscriber have broadband speeds of 100 Mbps when driving or being transported by a train or bus and 1Gbps when stationary or walking.
The decision to allow for the use of the term 4G LTE prior to full deployment or compliance was established by the International Telecommunications Union-Radio communications sector (ITU-R) in December of 2010. The ITU-R allows a service to be called "4G", provided it is considered as a forerunner to International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)-Advanced compliant version and represents "a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed".
Look for the summary of the global wireless statistics on Thursday.