Closing the Gap Between Possibility and Reality: LTE Now Available to 53% of the World

Alex Brisbourne

For many B2B organizations that rely on fast, efficient connectivity to reliably operate day-to-day activities—let alone use it as a differentiator—LTE (4G networks) has quickly become a non-negotiable expectation. It is quite interesting to consider that we are not that far removed from a time when global connectivity on the scale with which we are now familiar seemed impossible at best, and even the very mention of such a suggestion would have been considered farcical to many.

The penetration of LTE was crystalized last month when the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) released its “ICT Facts and Figures Report,” which found 53 percent of the world’s population now has access LTE (4G networks). Some of the findings included:

  • On average, there were 22 mobile-cellular subscriptions for each machine-to-machine (M2M) subscription worldwide
    • Sweden was the most connected with 50 cellular/M2M subscription, at the beginning of 2015; the US was seventh on the list with approximately 12
  • Through 2015, total international Internet bandwidth had reached 185,000 Gbit/s, up from 30,000 in 2008
  • In early 2016, three out of four fixed-broadband subscriptions had advertised speeds of at least10 Mbit/s in developed countries; in developing countries two out of four countries could make the claim

In the coming years, LTE penetration will continue to grow and the ways businesses will harness its power will multiply. An even more fascinating consideration: The most disruptive utilizations of LTE have likely not yet been dreamt. To be in a position where we can actually address the “how” of connectivity, as opposed to dismissing such a conversation as folly, is quite remarkable.

Will we ever see LTE adoption cross the 90 percent threshold? It will be exciting to find out.

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