The mass deployment of 3G networks has accelerated the adoption of smart devices, conditioning users to access wireless data services on a daily basis. The growing strain on current 3G networks due to increased mobile traffic has driven operators to start deploying 4G networks in order to cope with future demand. As a result, LTE has emerged as the prime candidate for 4G networks, prompting mass commitment and adoption on a global level. This trend has lead the team at consulting firm, Visiongain, to estimate that $10.84bn will be spent on LTE infrastructure in 2012.
The number of LTE subscribers is set for dynamic growth in the next five years, as operators build and trial LTE in order to cope with the increasing amounts of data traffic on their networks. The successful launch of a number of LTE networks in the US, Asia and Europe is driving ever greater adoption of 4G services.
A wide range of mobile services will be enabled by the deployment of LTE, including streaming video-on-demand, video conferencing, high quality VoIP, high-speed upload of user-generated content, consistent low-latency online gaming, paid dynamic content such as e-newspapers and e-magazines, video-based mobile advertising, on-demand music download and storage, application sharing and cloud-based services.
For these services to be rendered available, operators need to build out LTE networks, which are based on an all-IP network architecture for packet-switched rather than circuit-switched voice services. Governments worldwide have held 4G spectrum auctions or are planning to in the coming years, and many Tier1 mobile operators are building, trialing and deploying commercial LTE services. This is generating significant revenue growth for the LTE infrastructure market.
Markets in North America and Asia Pacific will experience strong growth along with Europe. Middle Eastern nations will also show signs of a dynamic LTE market, as their governments are keen to roll-out the latest and fastest cellular networks. LTE spending in the rest of the world, such as in Latin American and Africa, will be much less significant, despite a favourable growth rate. The increased adoption of broadband networks and the decreasing prices of smart devices will eventually change the situation in the long term.
Watch out for big companies to merge as it becomes difficult for those that cannot transition in the competition.