The market research firm expects as many as 73 million subscribers could be using 4G LTE networks in 2013 if the infrastructure rollout proceeds as expected.
"Unlike 3G deployments that were overlay networks -- in effect building 3G onto existing 2G infrastructures -- LTE is going to be a rapid mobile expansion that uses new spectrum and a flatter, IP-centric architecture," said Stephane Teral, principal analyst for mobile and fixed-mobile communications infrastructure, in the Infonetics LTE report. "Consequently, if providers carry out their LTE plan as scheduled, the first technical deployments of LTE will take place in the second half of 2009, and the market will be primed to grow quickly, reaching $5 billion in 2013."
Teral noted that Verizon Wireless, TeliaSonera, KDDI, and NTT DoCoMo have all publically committed to roll out LTE infrastructure for commercial launch in 2010. Verizon Wireless, which is a partnership of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, plans to deploy its first two technical LTE deployments by the end of this year. AT&T also has said it will use LTE, but at a slower deployment rate than Verizon's.
Noting that LTE will be the "universal future-proofed mobile platform," Teral said the 4G networks will be used by both GSM carriers for their HSPA+ traffic and CDMA carriers to bypass 1xEV-DO rev B upgrades. In the United States, Verizon has taken the lead in rolling out LTE and expects initial products to be faster versions of existing 3G products like PC cards and smartphones.
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