5G Americas, the industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas, announced that global LTE connections reached the milestone of 2.5 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2017. There was an increase of 838 million new LTE subscriptions in one year ending September 2017 according to data from Ovum. Global market share for LTE achieved 32 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2017, an increase of almost 10 percentage points in one year. The North America region continued as a global leader with LTE market share of 73 percent, higher than any other world region. Latin America exhibited continued growth with market share for LTE increasing to 26 percent.

“Although the global wireless industry is working on preparations for 5G in the future, currently operators are deploying more advanced LTE capabilities, and LTE subscriptions are continuing to grow at a fantastic rate,” stated Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas.

New LTE network deployments continue as well as many network upgrades from LTE to LTE-Advanced.  As of mid-November, there were 562 commercial LTE deployments worldwide, while 211 of those operators have already evolved to LTE-Advanced (TeleGeography).

3Q 2017 – North America

The North America region achieved 341 million LTE subscriptions by the end of September 2017 with some of the highest penetration rates, most extensive coverage and largest market share for LTE in the world.  LTE achieved a penetration rate of 94 percent in the third quarter, with 341 million connections compared to the population of 362 million in North America. This penetration rate compares to the next two highest regions, Oceania, Eastern and Southeastern Asia, at 58 percent and Western Europe at 57 percent penetration. In North America, LTE penetration is expected to pass 100 percent in 2018.

In addition to having a significantly higher penetration rate, the U.S. and Canada also have the highest market share for LTE in comparison to all mobile wireless technologies with 73 percent versus Oceania, Eastern and Southeastern Asia at 52 percent and 42 percent in Western Europe. Market share represents the percentage of mobile wireless connections that are LTE technology versus all other mobile technologies.

  • 341 million LTE connections for net gain of 52 million new LTE customers from 3Q 2016 to 3Q 2017
  • LTE is forecast to reach 456 million connections at the end of 2021 (including M2M)
  • 34.9 million 5G connections forecast in 2021 – nearly 31 percent of all global 5G connections

3Q 2017 – Latin America and the Caribbean

“LTE continues as the fastest growing mobile technology ever deployed in Latin America,” stated Jose Otero, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean, 5G Americas. “All countries in the region, except Cuba, have at least one LTE service provider.”

Latin America nearly doubled LTE connections to 179 million from 99 million year-over-year at 3Q 2017 increasing by 80 percent.  LTE’s market share increased from 14 percent to 26 percent in twelve months.

  • 691 million total mobile wireless subscriptions
  • 179 million LTE connections; 80 million new LTE connections added year-over-year from 3Q 2016
  • LTE market share of 26 percent
  • LTE forecast to reach nearly 200 million connections at the end of 2017 (forecast includes M2M)
  • By the end of 2021, LTE is forecast to reach 458 million connections (forecast includes M2M) and a 59 percent share of market

Mr. Otero further noted that, “Actions by Latin American governments such as, granting new spectrum to mobile operators and approval of secondary spectrum market transactions, as well as spectrum re-farming by operators, have contributed to LTE’s healthy growth. With more than 25 percent of all regional subscribers using LTE, we are confident that the next step in network evolution will be an increase in the number of operators launching Carrier Aggregation to increase the speeds offered via their LTE networks.”

As of mid-November, there were 108 commercial LTE networks across the Latin America and the Caribbean region of which 20 are LTE-Advanced deployments with Carrier Aggregation (TeleGeography).

3Q 2017 – Global

Worldwide, LTE is forecast to continue its momentum, growing to 3 billion in 2018 and achieving 4.9 billion connections in 2022.

  • 2.5 billion LTE connections out of a total of 7.8 billion total cellular connections worldwide
  • 838 million new LTE subscriptions year-over-year from 3Q 2016; 49 percent growth
  • LTE market share of 32 percent
  • LTE connections forecast to reach 4.8 billion by year-end 2021 (forecast includes M2M)
  • LTE global market share forecast to reach 53 percent by year end 2021
  • 5G is forecast to reach 111 million connections by the end of 2021

Ovum’s global forecast indicates LTE surpassing all other technologies in 2018 to become the most popular technology with a total 3.16 billion LTE connections, 41.6 percent penetration and 38 percent market share. LTE connections will be nearly 5 billion with 62 percent penetration by December 2022, according to the forecast.

For more information and to view a variety of statistical charts on the 3GPP family of technologies, visit


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