LTE deployment is expected to cover about 57% population by 2018 across the globe, representing 4.2 billion users, according to a report from ABI Research.
The LTE user number is expected to reach 183 million by the end of 2013 generating revenue of $73.8b, which is anticipated to increase to $530.5bn by 2018, driven by the growth of LTE commitments and support from the handset vendors.
According to the report, 193 commitments from the total of 470 LTE commitments tracked by the agency have gone commercial and another 123 network commitments are expected to follow in the upcoming two years.
ABI Research core forecasting VP Jake Saunders said that LTE deployments should deliver population coverage of 57% (4.2 billion) and 31% (2.3 billion) in legacy WCDMA and CDMA2000 markets respectively.
"Significantly, LTE-TDD coverage should achieve 49% population coverage by the end of the five year period," Saunders added.
By 2018, the number of LTE macrocell base stations is expected to reach 2.43 million to achieve the population coverage targets, due to which about 18,000 LTE outdoor small cells are anticipated to be shipped in 2013 and grow to 986,000 by 2018.
LTE subscriptions for the initial eight quarters from fourth quarter of 2010 to third quarter of 2012 have surpassed WCDMA in terms of growth-rate and absolute numbers.
Korea based SK Telecom is expected to launch commercial LTE-Advanced service called 3GPP R.10, which is expected to lead to the introduction of devices that offer potential data download speeds that of 1Gbps with video streaming services like eMBMS.