According to 5G Americas, global LTE subscriptions have risen to nearly 5 billion worldwide. Interestingly, a quarter billion new LTE connections were added around the world in the second quarter of 2019. This data suggests that operators are continuing to invest in LTE services, reflecting the widespread belief that even with 5G deployment, LTE will remain relevant.
This pattern of growth can be seen all around the world. 73 per cent of networks in Oceania, Eastern and South Eastern Asia region has LTE, up from 65 per cent in June 2018. Western Europe follows with 55 per cent whereas in Latin America and the Caribbean, LTE subscriber growth has gone up to 47 per cent. But North America leads the pack, with 88 per cent of all mobile connections being LTE.
Despite this, 5G is showing some impressive growth of its own. There are over 34 3GPP standardized commercial 5G networks globally, with the count expected to rise to 77 by the end of this year. By the end of 2021, Ovum, the analyst and technology firm predicts there will be 156 million 5G connections with 32 million in North America alone.
Until this happens, globally, LTE connections are expected to reach six billion by the end of 2022 before they start to dip. If this projection remains to be true, in 2023, 4G LTE will still be drastically ahead of 5G in terms of subscribers with only 1.3 billion 5G subscribers to expected by that time in the same year.