LTE (Long Term Evolution), often referred to as 4G LTE, is set to truly establish itself on a global basis when it comes to mobile broadband connections during 2012.
According to the latest piece of research from bean counters Strategy Analytics, LTE connections will increase from 10 million to 90 million over the course of 2012, a major leap.
The company's report, entitled Worldwide Cellular User Forecasts: 2012-2017, shows that LTE is quickly going to push beyond its initial core market of high-tech early adopters, Japan, South Korea and the US.
Indeed, the rise of LTE is predicted to mean that the number of devices on such networks will reach the 1 billion mark in early 2017. That will mean 4G LTE will represent some 15 per cent of worldwide mobile broadband connections.
Strategy Analytics notes that this surge in usage outpaces previous generation network technology, pointing to the fact that GSM took 12 years to hit the billion mark. WCDMA (including HSPA) is predicted to take almost the same amount of time, close to 11 years, while LTE should manage the feat in just 7 years.
After 8 years, LTE will hit almost 1.3 billion according to the analyst firm's estimations, with the growth graph continuing its steep ascent.
Phil Kendall, Director of the Strategy Analytics Wireless Operator Strategies service, noted: "It has taken some time to warm up, but operator sentiment toward LTE has improved significantly over the last year.
"The LTE smartphone market is providing this sudden lift, with LTE's medium-term potential boosted by the much greater scale in today's mobile market: WCDMA launched into a world of fewer than one billion mobile connections, whereas we have over six billion connections today."