Feature Article

February 21, 2013

LTE Subscriptions to Grow Rapidly in 2013 in Asia-Pacific, Says ABI Research

Market research firm ABI Research’s quarterly updated “Asia-Pacific Mobile Subscriber” report shows that in Q4 2012, the LTE subscription in Asia-Pacific increased by 60.92 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ).

As a result, it accounted for about 34.6 million LTE subscribers.

The market watcher is predicting that the LTE subscription market will continue to grow rapidly in 2013 to reach 72.1 million.

 In a statement, Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research, said, “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 50 percent of its subscribers will be on LTE.”

However, as per the ABI study, the Asia-Pacific 4G cellular market still has considerable potential. In Q4 2012, Asia-Pacific had notched up 3.45 billion subscriptions – up 8.7 percent year-on-year (YoY), resulting in a cellular penetration of 87.5 percent.

“The strong growth trend of mobile subscription is expected to keep up until 2015, where it will surpass 100 percent,” stated Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director of core forecasting at ABI Research.

In terms of significant movers and shakers, China Unicom, the second-largest mobile subscription operator in Asia-Pacific, has grown its mobile subscriber base 22 percent year-over-year, compared to Q4 2011. As a result, the mobile operator’s subscriber count has reached 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 percent YoY, reaching 160 million, fueled by 3G tariffs and smartphones.

The study found that smartphone penetration was at 19.4 percent at the end of 2012, and is expected to approach 26.5 percent by year-end 2013. The third-fastest growing (15.44 percent) operator was Indonesia’s Telkomsel, with 125 million subscribers.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies.

Edited by Braden Becker

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