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GSMA looks forward to 1 billion LTE connections by 2017

The LTE total currently stands at 176 million connections but continued build-out should see those subscriber numbers skyrocket. By 2017 there will be twice the number of networks with LTE capabilities, totalling 500 in service within 128 countries (most of the world).

But even with all this boosting it’s expected that LTE will still only account for about one in eight of all the world’s mobile connections, which means that large numbers of HSPA, HSPA+ and even 2G networks are still likely to be in operation in 2017.

Also, keep in mind that many LTE subscribers are, at current rates of progress, still likely to be “falling back” to switched 3G and even 2G networks to make voice calls by 2017.

As things currently stand the roll-out is rather uneven. The US now accounts for 46 per cent of global LTE connections and most of the balance is accounted for by Korea and Japan. Taken together with the US these three currently account for 80 per cent of LTE in the field.

By 2017, however, Asia is projected to account for 47 per cent of connections thanks to expansion in India and China.

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