4G adoption set to be fastest ever

4G adoption set to be fastest ever

The shift to superfast 4G networks could be faster than that of any other previous generation of mobile technology, according to the GSMA.

The number of connections to the latest generation of mobile networks could surpass one billion by 2017, with an estimated one in eight mobile connections expected to use superfast mobile broadband within the next four years.

During this time, there is expected to be a total of 500 4G networks operating across 128 countries, a development that could roughly double the number of networks that are operating today.

According to the GSMA, there are a number of factors that can explain the rise of 4G, including a more efficient allocation of the spectrum to various operators, as well as an improvement in affordability of necessary devices and tariffs.

The huge rate of adoption in various parts of the world means that not only are the number of 4G connections to substantially rise, but there could also be a significant change in the way that people communicate, with an increased focus on using mobile devices.

The GSMA claims that the shift to 4G will be faster than previous moves to 2G and 3G, with the latter being particularly slow to take off, mainly due to the cost of the spectrum acquired to use the networks and lack of smartphones and other connected devices.

For example, 4G users consume an average of 1.5GB of data a month, nearly twice the amount of the 2G and 3G users, suggesting more people prefer being connected while on the move than before.

Around a fifth of the global population is already connected to a 4G network, and this could rise to as much as half by the year 2017.

In the US, 4G networks already cover 90 per cent of the population. Asia is expected to grow to account for nearly half of all LTE connections by 2017, with networks being rolled out in major markets such as China and India.