Mobile video set to explode as LTE adoption spikes

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 07 June 2015

Mobile video has gotten a big boost from 4G/LTE network rollouts, and continued subscriber adoption is set to further boost the sector.

LTE claimed nearly 635 million total connections worldwide as of the first quarter of 2015, according to 4G Americas. North and Latin America are both notable regional leaders in the space.

Globally, LTE has seen a 151% increase year-over-year. North America led the world by increasing its high ranking in LTE market share to 44% compared to a global market share for LTE of 9%. There are now 68 commercial LTE networks deployed in the US and Canada, and 180 million LTE connections as of March 2015; that’s a net gain of 66 million new LTE subscribers during the last 12 months. LTE connections are forecast to reach 345 million by year-end 2019

“North America continues to prove its leadership in LTE with metrics such as population coverage, share of market and penetration,” said Chris Pearson, president of 4G Americas.

“This foreshadows the future of mobile broadband in the Americas and the important influence that LTE carries as it helps lay the foundation for 5G in 2020 and beyond.”

LTE-Advanced is now being deployed across operators’ footprints in North America, offering performance and spectral advantages through carrier aggregation, and customer benefits such as improved speeds. Therefor ideal for use cases such as mobile TV and video.

The next-highest ranking regions are Western Europe, with a 16% market share, and Asia Pacific at 13%.

Meanwhile, Latin America led the world in the growth rate of LTE connections, with an impressive 396% growth increase year-over-year. HSPA and HSPA+ continue to dominate the mobile broadband connections in the region with a total of 282 million connections and a penetration rate of 45%.

Overall, Latin America gained 70 million new HSPA and HSPA+ connections year-over-year with a market share of 39%.

Mobile video traffic in Mexico accounts for 50% of its total mobile data traffic — a figure that will grow to 72% by 2019, according to Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index (VNI).

“Starting this year, we are in the midst of a rapid growth phase for LTE in Latin America with almost every country offering commercial LTE technology by at least two service providers,” said Jose Otero, director of Latin America and the Caribbean at 4G Americas. “Brazil, Colombia and Mexico continue to hold the lion’s share of LTE lines in the region. However, by the end of the year, there may be several countries with more than 5% market share for LTE – with accelerated LTE subscriber adoption in Chile and Peru and the potential in Argentina.”

There are now 67 commercial LTE networks in 27 countries in Latin America, with 16 million LTE connections as of March 2015; that’s a net gain of 13 million new LTE subscribers during the last 12 months. LTE connections are forecast to reach 196 million by year-end 2019 in the region.

Globally, LTE has been commercialised on 418 networks across 142 countries today. Operators are beginning to evolve to LTE-Advanced which is already commercialised on 67 networks in 39 countries across the globe.

“With such vast deployments of LTE, it will not be long before we are counting subscriptions in the billions,” noted Chris Pearson. “Ovum estimates that we will reach a billion LTE connections in 2016, only seven years since the first launch of LTE in 2009.”