Feature Article

September 27, 2012

LTE has Officially Topped WiMAX in the U.S., Japan and South Korea

Given that the world’s largest wireless service providers have invested so much in LTE technology, both they and telecommunications analysts are keeping a close watch on its growth. New research from market intelligence firm ABI shows good news for proponents of LTE.

LTE, or “Long Term Evolution,” is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile devices. It’s based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, which boost the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements. The technology has been widely deployed in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brazil, the Russian Federation and throughout Asia. 

Image via Shutterstock

The research examined countries where mobile operators are aggressively deploying new networks, and offering commercial LTE devices and services. In some nations, it’s official: LTE has official surpassed WiMAX. In the U.S., South Korea and Japan, the number of LTE subscribers has officially topped that of WiMAX subscribers.

“Japan, South Korea, and the United States used to have strong mobile WiMAX proponents, so while the momentum and future of WiMAX and LTE are clear, it is somewhat surprising to see how long the subscriber crossover has actually taken,” said ABI research director Phil Solis in a statement.

Adding,  “In mid-2014, even subscribers to LTE in TDD mode will have surpassed WiMAX subscribers at which point WiMAX subscribers will begin their permanent, slow decline.”

ABI noted that TD-LTE subscriber growth is currently slow with only a handful of smaller mobile operators currently servicing active subscribers. This will greatly accelerate toward the end of 2013 and into 2014 when larger mobile operators with TDD spectrum start adding LTE subscribers – especially China Mobile, said the research group.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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