According to recent reports, by the end of 2011 there were already 12 million subscribers worldwide and last March forecasts indicated that by the end this year there would be around 42 million LTE users around the world. However, recent estimations predict that the amount of users has been doubling quarterly, and will hit over 90 million subscribers by the end of 2012, in a global cell market of 6,6 billion subscribers (including also GSM, 3G and evolutions).
As of June 2012, 130 operators have already launched LTE commercially, and 224 other major operators are committed to start operating in the next months–64 of which during this same year. Lists of these LTE operators and their launching date are available in the Wikipedia and in LTEWorld.
Almost 2/3 of the global LTE subscribers are currently in North America (thanks to the big expansion and commercial plans from the 7 US and 10 Canadian operators) but this distribution will soon change and a dramatic growth in Asian countries is expected.
LTE adoption will be the fastest in mobile technology history, according to predictions. The following graph prepared by TechCrunch shows how many years it took to reach 1 billion subscribers after the commercial launch of a mobile technology, a milestone that LTE is expected to reach in 2017:
Last year Barcelona was appointed Mobile World Capital… so we are already excited looking forward to celebrating the Billion Subscriber Party in four years’ time. We are already working for that!