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Article écrit par :

Carole Manero

Directrice d’études Pôle Télécoms

Nous prévoyons, globalement, plus de 5 milliards de cartes SIM LTE au niveau mondial, ce qui représente 58% du nombre total de cartes SIM prévu en 2020. Selon nos prévisions, le seuil de 3 milliards sera atteint en 2018.

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LTE has become mature

5G commercial launch is scheduled for 2020 all over the world (earlier in specific Asian countries and the USA). At that time, LTE will account for more than half of total SIMs from ¼ at YE2016. Adoption has been very robust in the last 5-year period with almost 2 billion subscribers at YE2016 globally. Subscriber growth will slow down as LTE has grown to maturity.

From a regional perspective, Asia-Pacific accounts for more than 60% of the total LTE SIMs at YE16. Its share is expected to grow steadily till 2017 when it will begin to decrease. As for Europe, its share would stabilise around 16-17%.

Emerging countries represent a major growth avenue. Specifically, Africa and Middle East countries represent a high growth potential for LTE and its evolutions in the 5 years to come. We expect that their LTE share as a region will double in 2017-2021 and  account for 6% in 2021 compared to 3% at YE2016.

The leader, China Mobile will probably be so forever. Overall, Chinese players dominate the market.

China Mobile (535 million) has more than four times as many LTE SIMs as China Telecom (122 million) which ranks 2nd as at end-December 2016!

Verizon Wireless was passed by China Telecom in the first half 2016 and is now heavily challenged by the 3rd Chinese player, China Unicom.

The top 10 operators come from just 3 countries: Asian in the lead (China, Japan) and the USA.

5G: 1.7 billion 5G subscribers anticipated in 2025

5G will be launched in 2018 in Asia and the USA and becomes more widespread in 2020 with launches in Europe and the migration from 4G to 5G is expected to be fast :

  • The 1 billion mark will be passed in 2025.
  • Asia will account for more than half (58%, 950 million) of the subscriptions in 2025.
  • With 274 million 5G subscriptions, Europe is expected to account for 17% of total 5G subscriptions in 2025 (and EU-28 for 11%).

Finally, on a longer term, there will be growth avenues in MEA.