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Asia will have 72.1 million LTE subscribers by year's end

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE? smartphone? baseband?

In the last quarter of 2012, LTE subscriptions in Asia-Pacific increased by 60.92 per cent quarter-on-quarter, clocking in at 34.6 million. This rapid growth will continue towards the end of 2013 to reach 72.1 million, ABI Research forecasts.

"The operators in South Korea have aggressively promoted LTE since launch. For example, SK Telecom, the largest operator in terms of subscriptions, had gained 7 million LTE subscribers by the end of 2012, and aims to secure 13 million by the end of 2013, a feat that will mean per cent of its subscribers will be on LTE," said Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research.

The Asia-Pacific 4G cellular market still has considerable potential. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Asia-Pacific had notched up 3.45 billion subscriptions, up 8.7 per cent year-on-year (YoY), resulting in a cellular penetration of 87.5 per cent. "The strong growth trend of mobile subscription is expected to keep up until 2015, where it will surpass 100 per cent," stated Jake Saunders, VP and practice director of core forecasting.

In terms of significant movers and shakers, China Unicom, the second largest mobile subscription operator in Asia-Pacific, has grown its mobile subscribers 22 per cent YoY compared to Q4-2011 to attain 239 million, making it the fastest growing operator in Asia.

The next fastest growing operator was China Telecom, which increased its subscriber base by 16.89 per cent YoY, reaching 160 million, fuelled by 3G tariffs and smartphones. Smartphone penetration stood at 19.4 per cent at the end of 2012, and is expected to approach 26.5% by year-end 2013. The third fastest growing (15.44 per cent) operator was Indonesia's Telkomsel with 125 million.

On the global front, Strategy Analytics reported that vendors sold about 90 million LTE smartphones last year and will sell up to 275 million handsets in 2013. (See LTE smartphone vendors to sell 275M units in 2013.) The research firm also stated that there were 88 million connections on LTE networks at the end of 2012 (see LTE network adoption to reach 1.6B in 2017) and will grow to 322 million in 2013. Meanwhile, IHS predicts global subscribers will surpass the 100-million mark this year. (See Global LTE subscribers in 2013 to grow twofold.) In terms of component revenue, it was estimated that LTE basebands accounted for 21 per cent of Qualcomm's total base band shipments in 2012. (See LTE boosts cellular baseband processor market.)





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