Asia-Pacific LTE Subscriptions Expected to Double to 72 Million by the End of 2013

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In 4Q 2012 the LTE subscription in Asia Pacific has increased by 60.92% quarter on quarter (QoQ) reaching 34.6 million. ABI Research expects that the LTE subscription market will continue to grow rapidly in 2013 to reach 72.1 million.

"The operators in South Korea have aggressively promoted LTE since launch. For example, SK Telecom, the largest operator in terms of subscriptions, had gained 7 million LTE subscribers by the end of 2012, and aims to secure 13 million by the end of 2013, a feat that will mean 50% of its subscribers will be on LTE," said Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research.

The Asia-Pacific 4G cellular market still has considerable potential. In 4Q-2012, Asia-Pacific had notched up 3.45 billion subscriptions, up 8.7% year-on-year (YoY), resulting in a cellular penetration of 87.5%. "The strong growth trend of mobile subscription is expected to keep up until 2015, where it will surpass 100%," stated Jake Saunders, VP and practice director of core forecasting.

In terms of significant movers and shakers, China Unicom, the second largest mobile subscription operator in Asia-Pacific, has grown its mobile subscribers 22% YoY compared to Q4-2011 to attain 239 million, making it the fastest growing operator in Asia.

The next fastest growing operator was China Telecom, which increased its subscriber base by 16.89% YoY, reaching 160 million, fueled by 3G tariffs and smartphones. Smartphone penetration stood at 19.4% at the end of 2012, and is expected to approach 26.5% by year-end 2013.

The third fastest growing (15.44%) operator was Indonesia's Telkomsel with 125 million.

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