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Aug 23rd 2017
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Home World News 4G networks to cover more than a third of the global population

4G networks to cover more than a third of the global population

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GSM logo4G forecast to account for more than 30 per cent of mobile connections globally by 2020.

 

London. According to new data from GSMA Intelligence, 4G-LTE networks will cover more than a third of the global population by year-end as 4G deployments continue to accelerate across the world. The new data released yesterday calculates that 4G coverage will be available to 35 per cent of the global population by the end of 2015, up from 27 per cent at the end of last year.

The first commercial 4G networks were launched in December 2009; by the end of January 2015, the number of live 4G operators globally stood at 352. The number of 4G connections is also growing rapidly, more than doubling from 200 million at the end of 2013 to almost half a billion (490 million) at the end of last year. Seven per cent of all global mobile connections1 were running on 4G networks at the end of 2014, up from 3 per cent a year earlier.

“The rapid growth in 4G network deployments and connections, alongside expanding coverage reach, has made the move to 4G one of the fastest network technology migrations ever seen. GSMA Intelligence forecasts that global 4G connections will grow at more than 30 per cent a year (CAGR) from 2014 to 2020,” said Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer at the GSMA. “There is a tipping point we typically see when 4G grows to account for more than 20 per cent of a market that drives adoption of new services. This 20 per cent threshold has already been reached in some markets, and is forecast to happen by 2017-18 on a global basis, which will have a huge transformational impact.”

GSMA Intelligence expects strong 4G momentum to continue between now and 2020. By the end of 2015, global 4G connections are forecast to reach 875 million, accounting for 12 per cent of total connections. By 2020, 4G is expected to account for more than 30 per cent of global connections. 4G networks are expected to cover 63 per cent of the global population by this point.

4G adoption is closely correlated to coverage, which in turn is dependent on the timing, type and amount of spectrum assigned to operators for 4G services. According to GSMA Intelligence, 4G deployments are typically being deployed using the Digital Dividend bands (700/800MHz), refarmed spectrum in existing 2G/3G bands (notably 1800MHz) or the IMT-extension bands (2500/2600MHz). Three-quarters of 4G deployments to date are running on one of these three bands, suggesting that progress is being made on 4G spectrum harmonisation.

 

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