LTE is the fastest-growing wireless standard to date, to hit a billion users by 2017: report

LTE is big, and it’s getting bigger. This according to a report by Strategy Analytics who have taken a survey of worldwide 3G and 4G networks and expect LTE to hit the same user milestones as GSM and HSPA in nearly half the time.

While all new wireless technologies take some time to expand, SA expects total LTE subscriptions to hit 90 million by the end of 2012, proliferating to one billion by 2017. Considering the first commercially-available LTE sites debuted in 2009 in Sweden and Norway, and have since expanded to Korea, Japan, America, and Canada, the speed of growth has been astounding.

Certainly things are easier now than they once were: established CDMA and HSPA sites around the world mean that vendors and carriers don’t have to create an entirely new network from scratch; LTE is backwards-compatible with HSPA voice protocols. So too is the cost of operation per site decreasing, as equipment becomes smaller, cheaper and more bandwidth efficient. LTE is much more spectrally-efficient than previous 3G networks, resulting in higher load opportunities per carrier site.

What most customers hope is that as LTE devices get more popular — it theoretically supports speeds up to 150Mbps, making it quite attractive — the price of data decreases. At the moment in most of the world, including Canada, data demand is overtaking bandwidth supply. Data caps, as they are seen, are a necessary evil to prevent decreased performance.

What’s your take? Have you made the jump to LTE? In our last poll, it seemed that most of you were pretty excited about it, though the price of data will play into your decision.

Source: Techcrunch