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Juniper Research: 220 Million 4G LTE Subscribers by 2014

HAMPSHIRE, ENGLAND—A new report from Juniper Research forecasts a rapid uptake of 4G LTE mobile broadband technology in the next two years, with the subscriber number doubling from an estimated 105 million subscribers this year to nearly 220 million in 2014.

The report says a notable number of subscribers will begin to sign up for services this year, but it will still have a very limited global reach. The embedding of LTE technology in consumer devices is driving the consumer uptake for the technology.

With LTE roll-outs gaining momentum, primarily in developed markets, Juniper Research says there is a opportunity for operators in developing countries to roll out 4G LTE directly, bypassing 3G; Kenyan operator Yu recently announced that it would skip 3G and deploy LTE.

The new report "4G LTE: Subscribers, Devices, Infrastructure & Service Revenue 2013-2017" found that Time Division will play a significant role, especially in emerging markets.

Frequency Division and TD-LTE are two different standards of 4G LTE. TD-LTE is a cost effective 4G solution that makes efficient use of the unpaired spectrum compared to FD-LTE, which requires paired spectrum.

Driven by China, Japan and India, TD-LTE will see an increased network roll-out from other parts of the world. China Mobile announced a $6.7 billion investment in a 2013 roll out of TD-LTE.

“Ultimately, using TD-LTE requires consideration of the available smartphone ecosystem and evaluation of dual-mode LTE chipsets. However, dual mode (TDD/FDD) terminals will soon become widely available and accessible for operators with TD spectrum,” said report author Nitin Bhas. Device vendors, including Apple, will need to make versions available that work with TD-LTE if they are to increase market share in other parts of the world.

4G LTE revenues are set to reach more than $340 billion by 2017 globally.Almost 70 percent of LTE revenues will be generated by North American and Far Eastern & China markets.