Europe lagging behind the rest of the world for 4G

Europe lagging behind the rest of the world for 4G

4G implementation in Europe is lagging behind that of the rest of the world, a situation that could lead to a slowdown in any form of economic recovery, a new report has suggested.

The findings, uncovered in GSMA's Mobile Economy Europe report, come despite Europe boasting the highest rate of mobile subscribers in the world, currently standing a 79 per cent.

Yet revenues across the continent have fallen from €162 billion (£136.38 billion) in 2010 to €151 billion in 2012. It is also beginning to fall behind a number of other regions in deploying superfast mobile broadband technology.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, otherwise known as 4G, currently accounts for just 0.3 per cent of all devices across Europe.

The figure is well behind other countries, such as the US (11 per cent) and South Korea (28 per cent).

GSMA claims that faster data connections in the US have arisen from a greater rate of growth in investment. Speeds across country are now 75 per cent quicker than the average speeds recorded in the European Union, with the gap expected to grow.

As a whole, the mobile phone industry accounted for around 2.1 per cent of the EU's gross domestic product (GDP), creating and maintaining 34,000 jobs.

Anne Bouverot, director general at GSMA, said: “Europe was long viewed as a pioneer in mobile, but, as this report illustrates, is now lagging behind other regions in the deployment of mobile broadband, particularly in 4G/LTE.

“Despite this, the mobile industry can play a key role in the European recovery, but this will require policy that encourages investment in mobile broadband connectivity, enables innovation and helps build consumer confidence in mobile services. This should be at the heart of the Commission’s planned proposals on a single telecoms market.”

The findings of the report come after the release of 4G offerings from both Vodafone and O2, finally providing competition for market leader EE for providing customers across the UK with superfast mobile broadband.