Telecompetitors have been ramping up mobile broadband deployment significantly in the past year: 58 million HSPA and LTE connections were added in the U.S. and Canada between 1Q 2012 and 1Q 2013, the result being that 49% of all mobile connections in the region are now mobile broadband connections, according to 4G Americas.

Worldwide, LTE connections increased more than 400% for the year ending in March, totaling over 90 million connections, according to research conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media, with global LTE connections surpassing the 100 million-connection mark in May.

Globally, more than 100 LTE networks were launched in the past 12 months. There are 178 commercial LTE networks in 72 countries up and running today as compared to some 74 in 40 countries a year ago.

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LTE network growth has been particularly strong in North America: subscriptions exceeded 49 million, with the region representing 54% of global LTE connections as of the end of Q1. Globally, HSPA and LTE growth accelerated with the addition of 348 million subscriptions, “representing 87% of the 400 million new global 3GPP technology connections,” according to 4G Americas.

“Innovations in technology and service providers’ commitment to upgrading their networks to LTE has moved the U.S. and Canada to the current mobile broadband leadership position. However, the leadership of LTE in North America is fragile, as more spectrum allocations by governments are needed soon to alleviate the impending spectrum crunch,” 4G Americas president Chris Pearson commented.

“The Americas is at an exciting technology transition point right now,” Informa senior research analyst Kristin Paulin added. “LTE subscriptions surpassed 49 million for the region in the first quarter of 2013, and the region has already toppled over the 50 million milestone in May. Meanwhile, GSM subscription growth peaked in the fourth quarter 2012 in Latin America, and subscription growth is now driven by HSPA and to a lesser extent by LTE.”

4G Americas maintains an updated list of global HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE deployments on its website. Here’s an excerpt:

Global

  • 6.5 billion mobile connections; 90 percent using 3GPP technologies
  • More than 400 million annual new 3GPP connections, including 348 million annual new mobile broadband HSPA and LTE connections (in the 12 months ending March 2013)
  • 331 HSPA+ commercial networks in 130 countries today, including: 194 at 21 Mbps; 5 at 28 Mbps; 132 at 42 Mbps
  • 178 commercial LTE networks today; over 230 commercial LTE networks expected by the end of 2013
  • Over 300 total commitments to LTE deployment by network operators to date
  • Over 400 percent annual growth in LTE subscriptions
  • Global HSPA and LTE subscriptions surpassed 1.3 billion with 35 percent annual growth; 90.5 million LTE connections, more than 100 million in May 2013
  • By 2018, HSPA will consume 65 percent market share, or 4.3 billion of global mobile broadband subscriptions; LTE will hold 21 percent of the market share with 1.4 billion subscriptions

North America

  • HSPA and LTE mobile broadband achieved 181 million connections with annualized growth of 47 percent
  • HSPA and LTE added 58 million connections in the year ending March 2013 with 49 percent market share; by the end of 2018, this market share for HSPA and LTE will increase to 82 percent
  • 27 commercial LTE networks deployed
  • 49 million LTE connections, representing 54 percent of global LTE connections; forecast 61 million LTE connections at the end of 2013
  • LTE represents 24 percent market share of all 3GPP technologies in the region

Latin America

  • All mobile cellular technologies achieved 693 million connections; 96 percent market share for 3GPP technologies (668 million)
  • 51 million new 3GPP subscriptions in the year ending March 2013; 44.7 million were new HSPA connections to achieve 19 percent market share of total wireless connections; 15 million new HSPA connections were added in 1Q 2013 alone
  • HSPA mobile broadband achieved 134.5 million connections in the year ending March 2013 with annualized growth of 50 percent
  • 66 HSPA+ networks in 33 countries today
  • 20 commercial LTE networks today in Antigua & Barbuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, México, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Uruguay
  • 125,000 LTE connections; forecast 1.9 million LTE connections at the end of 2013

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