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The most recent report from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) indicates that 97 LTE networks were commercially launched during 2012; 145 operators have launched LTE services in 66 countries to date; and 234 new LTE networks will be commercially launched in 83 countries by the end of 2013. The 1800 MHz (3GPP band 3), is likely to remain the prime band for LTE, with the 2.6 GHz (band 7), the second most popular LTE band.

The most recent Pyramid Research global mobile broadband subscriber forecast indicates that:

  • LTE subscriptions are growing a 65% CAGR, four times faster than the 16% CAGR of HSPA/UMTS
  • LTE subscriptions worldwide will grow from 70 million at the end of 2012 to 864 million in 2017
  • Top three LTE markets of U.S., Korea and Japan account for 40 million LTE subscriptions at the end of 2012
  • Combined 4G/3G+ mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide will reach 4 billion by the end of 2017, with LTE comprising nearly 20% of the total

Ericsson has projected LTE will reach around 1.6 billion subscriptions by 2018 (pdf). Leading operators in mature markets such as Japan, South Korea and the U.S. are being pressured by customer demand, competition and rapid data traffic growth to upgrade their networks with LTE.

The mobile broadband market is valued at USD 1 trillion, according to a report by Yankee Group. By the end of 2013, Yankee Group forecasts 114 million active LTE connections globally, increasing to 258 million by the end of 2014.

Telecommunications industry’s most important trade show, the Mobile World Congress in Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain, opened on Monday, and runs until Feb 28.

Here’s a Flickr River of recent Mobile Congress photos (MWC2013).

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