The number of users worldwide of long-term evolution (LTE) high-speed networks will exceed 150 million by 2014 based on strong demand in the US, according to the results of a study released on Saturday by US research company In-Stat.
LTE technology has drawn the attention of telecom carriers and service providers because of its data efficiency, which is far greater than that of the existing 3G networks, In-Stat said.
The number of global users of LTE technology grew to 1 million last year and is forecast to reach 8 million this year, In-Stat said.
The fast growth of LTE will bring lots of business opportunities for some Taiwanese manufacturers in the wireless broadband supply chain, such as mobile-phone maker HTC Corp (宏達電), tablet computer makers Acer Inc (宏碁) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), as well as broadband equipment makers ZyXEL Communications Corp (合勤科技), Gemtek Technology Co (正文), Accton Technology Corp (智邦科技) and Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), according to the research firm.
In January at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, HTC signed a deal with US telecom operator Verizon Wireless Inc to sell the world’s first LTE smartphone, while Acer also announced that its Android tablet PC, Iconia A500, would support Verizon’s LTE network.
“The increasing investment of US telecom operators in LTE will gradually shift the leadership of the global wireless communications sector from Asia and Europe to the US,” In-Stat senior analyst Chris Kissel said in a statement.
For the period 2009 to 2014, LTE investment in the US will account for more than a quarter of its global investment, Kissel said. By 2014, the number of LTE users in the US will exceed the combined total in Europe and Asia, he forecast.
There are two major LTE standards running on different wireless spectrums — FDD-LTE and TD-LTE. Currently, 84 percent of LTE users worldwide subscribe to FDD-LTE. TD-LTE is backed by China Mobile Ltd, the world’s largest mobile service provider by number of subscribers.
In-Stat forecast that Japan would still have the most LTE users in Asia by 2014, but China and India would have the highest potential for growth of LTE service by that time.
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