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Operators have “over delivered” on LTE as adoption grows at 50 percent

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LTE will account for more than a quarter of total global mobile subscriptions over the next five years, according to new research.

Ovum’s latest LTE forecasts show that subscriptions will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49 percent to reach 2.3 billion by 2019 – equivalent to 28 percent of the world’s mobile subscriptions.

Growth in China will make Oceania, Eastern and Southeastern Asia the largest regional contributor, followed by North America.

Meanwhile, GSM subscriptions will fall from 4.3 billion subscriptions in 2013 to 1.75 billion by 2019.

Penetration of GSM will drop to 20 percent of global subscriptions by 2019, by which time many markets will see sub five percent penetration, the analyst firm predicts.

"LTE is rapidly moving into the mass market as the price premium over 3G disappears and lower-cost devices become available,” commented Ovum’s Mark Newman.

“The mobile industry can congratulate itself on under-promising and over-delivering on LTE. On the downside, new LTE-enabled revenue streams have been slow to materialize. Over the next 12 months we expect to see a focus on connected tablets and cars."

Earlier this month, figures from the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) showed that LTE has hit a commercial milestone with 300 operators now running networks across 107 countries.

Meanwhile, Nokia has claimed a new world record speed for LTE, reaching a speed of close to 4Gbps through aggregating 10 spectrum frequencies across 200MHz of bandwidth with SK Telecom.