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Post written by:

Carole Manero

Director of Studies Telecom Unit

We forecast, overall, a little less than 5 billion LTE SIMs worldwide or 54% of total SIMs at YE2020. According to our forecasts, the 3 billion mark will be reached in 2018.

LTE has gone mainstream since 2015

When 5G is expected to arrive in 2020, LTE will account for 40% of SIMs.

From a regional perspective, Asia-Pacific accounts for more than half of the total LTE SIMs at YE15. Its share is expected to grow steadily till 2017 when it will begin to decrease.

We assume Africa and emerging countries will take over at this time. We expect Africa and Middle East will account for 9% in 2020 compared to 3% at YE2016. According to our estimates, the European share would stabilise around 16%.

China Mobile will keep its lead. Second and third ranks are subject to strong competition

China Mobile (428 million) has more than four times as many LTE SIMs as China Telecom (90 million) which ranks 2nd as at end June 2016!

Verizon Wireless was passed by China Telecom in the first half 2016 and is now heavily challenged by the 3rd Chinese player, China Unicom.

The top 10 operators come from 3 countries only: Asian countries lead (China, Japan) and the USA. On the near term, Chinese players will undoubtedly dominate the market.

5G: 1.7 billion 5G subscribers anticipated in 2025

  • Migration from 4G to 5G is expected to be fast.
  • The 1 billion mark will be passed in 2025.
  • Asia will account for more than half (58%, 950 million) of the subscriptions in 2025.
  • With 274 million 5G subs, Europe is expected to account for 17% of total 5G subscriptions in 2025 (and EU-28 for 11%).
  • On a longer term, there will be growth avenues in MEA.