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Digitimes Research: Growth in global 4G user base to slow down beginning 2017
Benson Wu, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Monday 13 March 2017]

The global number of LTE (4G) mobile communication subscribers quickly increased to 1.935 billion at the end of 2016 according to statistics by the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association), but because the 4G user density (the number of 4G users divided by the population) in China is nearly 60% and mobile telecom carriers Southeast Asia, India and some European countries have not actively set up LTE networks, growth in the global number of LTE subscribers will slow down in the beginning of 2017, according to Digitimes Research.

There were 581 LTE networks in commercial operation around the world in 2016 and 166 ones and 17 ones of which had been upgraded to LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro (both so called 4G+) respectively, Digitimes Research indicated.

There were 7,037 models of LTE-enabled mobile terminal devices available globally in 2016 and 4,405 models -- or 62.6% of the total -- supported by LTE-Advanced or LTE-Advanced Pro. In particular, 679 LTE-Advanced- or LTE-Advanced Pro-enabled models complied with Cat (Category) 6 or above specification requirements, with the number 2.6 times that in 2015.

In 2017, many LTE mobile telecom carriers are expected to upgrade their networks directly to LTE-Advanced Pro mainly because LTE-Advanced Pro has a maximum data transfer speeds reaching 1Gbps and is regarded as a transition to 5G technology. However, most vendors are expected to be conservative about adopting 1Gbps baseband chips for their LTE-Advanced Pro-enabled terminal devices because most of LTE networks are based on LTE Release 11 standards and insufficient to support 1Gbps.

Content from this article was part of a complete Digitimes Research Chinese-language report that has not yet been translated into English. If you are interested in an English version of the report or wish to receive more information about the report, click here to contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Digitimes Research also provides quarterly tracking services for market sectors such as Global Tablet, China Smartphone, China Smartphone AP, Taiwan ICT and Taiwan FPD. Click here for more information about Digitimes Research Tracking services.

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