LTE continues to be the fastest growing mobile technology ever, with connections doubling during the past year to 1.29 billion, the Global mobile Suppliers Association has claimed.
The association said LTE is growing at almost four times the rate of 3G/HSPA tech. During the first quarter of this year, 182 million LTE connections were made, compared to 48 million 3G/HSPA and a drop in GSM subscriptions of 120 million.
Alan Hadden, Vice President, GSA said: “LTE subscriptions were signed up during Q1 2016 at an average of two million per day and the rate is accelerating. LTE is now connecting over one in six mobile subscribers worldwide (17.4 percent).”
Europe remains the world's third biggest LTE market, with a 14 percent share. However, it has closed the gap slightly on the United States, which saw its global share drop 2.6 percentage points to 19.6 percent, or 253 million connections, in the first quarter.
Asia continues to be the strongest market, with more than 734 million LTE subscriptions and a 56.8 percent share. China alone added 96.3 million connections during the quarter.
LTE saw its 500th operator launch the technology last month and there are now 503 4G networks launched across 167 markets. The GSA is predicting this figure will hit 550 by the end of this year.
Around a quarter of LTE operators have launched LTE-Advanced and a third of all operators are currently investing in the technology.