The United States Long Term Evolution (LTE) market has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45.65% through to 2016, driven by the increased competition among network operators, and the increase in investment from AT&T Corp.
The United States may not have been the first to launch LTE (TeliaSonera launched the first commercial LTE service in Stockholm and Oslo in December 2009), but it is clearly leading the way in LTE today with the most coverage, devices and subscribers than any other country in the world.
The world's largest LTE operator is currently the US market leader, Verizon Wireless. The US number-one first launched its next-generation network at the end of 2010 and it is now live in 337 regional markets, covering nearly 75% of the US population (233 million POPs).
Earlier this year, Verizon announced that it had sold 3.2 million LTE devices in Q2, bringing its cumulative total past 10 million, and representing over 12% of retail post-paid connections.
Its major rivals are playing catch-up. AT&T launched LTE in September last year and is currently live in 47 markets, with plans to complete rollout by the end of next year. It claims its 4G-branded network (HSPA+/LTE) covers 260 million of the population; it had a third of its postpaid smartphone subscribers (2.5 million) using its '4G' devices by Q2.
Number-three US operator Sprint switched on its first LTE networks in 15 markets earlier this month, while several US regional operators have also launched, including the two largest, MetroPCS and Leap Wireless.
However, the increased investment by AT&T in LTE and the increased deployment of LTE networks across the country have led to immense growth in the market and increased competition among the network operators.
Carriers in the coming years will likely begin adding the new LTE Advanced standard, including enhanced inter cell interference cancellation, 8x8 MIMO and the ability to perform carrier aggregation to meld non-contiguous spectrum together into fatter pipes.
The main challenge faced by the US LTE market is the pricing issues faced by the network operators and the vendors because of the intense competition. Equipment providers such as Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, and Nokia Siemens Networks are intensely competitive and they are focused on having an edge in the LTE market in the US, which is the biggest and fastest market for LTE. This has led to increased pricing issues, leading to less profitability.
For more information on the US LTE market, see the latest research: LTE Market Research
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