What’s up, fellow Americans. We’ve officially taken the early lead in LTE (Long Term Evolution) smartphone subscribers, according to a new study by TeleGeography. Although, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given that the first inaugural wave of LTE 4G deployments took place right here in the U.S. What’s more of a surprise is that the report also revealed that North America’s lead in LTE smartphone subscribers will facing much stiff competition in the way of Asia, as they ramp up their own LTE activity. Let the LTE games begin.
Verizon Wireless accounted for 3.1 million LTE subs, about sixty percent of the global total (not surprising at all). Even though Verizon wasn’t the first global telecommunications giant to fully launch an LTE network (TeliaSonera and fellow U.S. provider MetroPCS owns that first), it was the first telecommunications operator to launch LTE on a wide scale. Meanwhile, the rest of the world have been playing catch-up. Also, of the 39 commercial LTE networks now live, most were launched in last year, in 2011.
As early as 2013, the Asia-Pacific region will be on track to pass North America with its LTE subscriptions, and by the end of the year 2016, it wil account for roughly 200 million subscribers, close to half of the global total of LTE subscribers. Given the downright population numbers of the Asia-Pac region compared to that of the combined population of the U.S. and Canada, a shift in LTE activity to the East is pretty much expected. Instead, it’s happening much quicker than expected, thanks to currently active rollout plans by telecom operators in South Korea, Japan, and China.