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Understanding today's smartphone user 4G LTE market
An analysis of data-usage patterns in the world’s most advanced 4G LTE markets
Produced in association with Mobidia

LTE has enjoyed the most successful launch of any mobile network technology in history. Networks and devices have been launched in higher volumes and in faster times than for any previous generation of mobile technology. Today, more than 110 live LTE networks span an addressable market that covers close to half a billion people across 50 or more different countries all around the world. Given this scale of deployment of LTE, it is not surprising that the rate of adoption of LTE by consumers has reached the milestone of 50 million connections in record time.

While much has been written about the speed and size of uptake of LTE technology around the world, there has been very little commentary about the impact of LTE adoption on consumer usage behavior. This short paper seeks to address this information gap and to provide new insights to answer important questions such as the relationship between LTE and the usage of different types of popular consumer applications, the role of new types of mobile data tariffs and the impact of LTE on Wi-Fi usage by smartphone users.

The analysis is focused on three key markets - Japan, South Korea and the US - which today account for more than 90% of the global LTE customer base of around 50 million connections. The leading operators in these markets boast customer bases that have rapidly grown into the millions and, importantly, are now moving quickly into the next phase of mass-market adoption (see fig. 1). For example, Verizon Wireless has already surpassed more than 15 million connections to its LTE network while LGU+ in South Korea is rapidly approaching the incredible milestone of converting more than 50% of its customer base to LTE.

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