Report: LTE Connections To Hit 90 Million By Year’s End, 1 Billion By 2017

By now, we’re pretty familiar with the term 4G LTE. But that in and of itself is somewhat surprising. It took 12 years for GSM wireless technology to reach one billion connections, and WCDMA took 11 years. But LTE will hit the same mark in just seven years of existence, according to a new report by Strategy Analytics.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a brief explanation would be that LTE (or Long Term Evolution) is a fourth-generation wireless standard that provides users with faster data speeds, all the while making more efficient use of a carrier’s wireless spectrum.

We’ve already seen a plethora of LTE devices hit the U.S. market, and now that the technology is established in major markets like Korea, Japan, and the U.S., the growth trajectory for LTE will only continue to rise. Strategy Analytics expects over 90 million LTE connections to be activated before the end of 2012, and that figure should reach the 1 billion mark by 2017. This is far and away the fastest implementation of new wireless technology to date.

At the same time, however, previous technologies were born into a world with far fewer overall connections. LTE launched with over 6 billion connections in existence in the world, whereas CDMA was first revealed at a time when less than 1 billion connections had been activated.

“The race is on for mobile operators to reduce cost per GB to match the rate at which revenue per GB is falling,” said director of service provider analysis Sue Rudd, in a prepared statement. “LTE is one of the key tools to deliver this improvement, with the early volume in LTE devices an encouraging sign for operators looking to maximize return on their LTE investments.”

To her point, we certainly wouldn’t mind a reduction in data costs, considering that we’re more data hungry than ever and unlimited data has basically been nixed across the boards.