With more 4G LTE models announced this year, shipment is set to grow by 204 million units to 676 million in 2015.
ABI Research estimates that the total number of LTE connected devices shipped worldwide will exceed 1.89 billion units by end 2019, demonstrating the need for infrastructure and spectrum to support the stellar growth in the industry.
“With the proliferation of larger screen smart devices driving up the insatiable appetites for content and faster speeds, ABI Research estimates that there will be 350 commercial LTE networks forecasted by 4Q 2014,” said Cheri Wong, Research Analyst of ABI Research.
In addition, LTE-Advanced is now commercial on 20 networks in 14 countries. To cope with the demand for higher data rates, FDD/TDD LTE carrier aggregation trials are starting to take place.
Ericsson, SingTel and Qualcomm have demonstrated a downlink speed of 260 Mbps in their trial. The first ever TDD-FDD LTE trial took place in February between Korea Telecom and SK Telecom, with assistance from Nokia Networks. The growing demand for data also emphasises the need for additional bandwidth to support the massive strain on operator networks which can be alleviated through the refarming of unused spectrum.
“While commercial devices supporting FDD/TDD carrier aggregation will only debut in 2015, this has not deterred global operators like Vodafone from rolling out LTE-Advanced technology using carrier aggregation to supplement its existing LTE mobile services,” said Jake Saunders, VP and Practice Director for 4G/5G at ABI Research.
Fueling the growth of the TD-LTE standard is the recently concluded US$970 million 4G TD-LTE deal between Nokia Networks and China Mobile. The multi-million deal will allow Nokia to equip China Mobile with its 4G TD-LTE technology to support the mobile operator’s 4G wireless broadband network deployments by end 2014 and 2015.
The evolution of LTE will also see the next wave of related applications such as VoLTE and LTE Broadcast/Multicast become growth drivers for the LTE market in the near term.