The LTE subscription in Asia Pacific has increased by 60.92 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), reaching 34.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to an ABI Research report.
Data from the study, Asia-Pacific Mobile Subscriber, indicates that the LTE subscription market will continue to grow rapidly in 2013 to reach 72.1 million.
One group of operators aggressively pushing for LTE is from South Korea. "For example, SK Telecom, the largest operator in terms of subscriptions, had gained seven million LTE subscribers by the end of 2012, and aims to secure 13 million by the end of 2013, a feat that will mean 50 percent of its subscribers will be on LTE," said Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research.
The Asia-Pacific 4G cellular market still has considerable potential, according to analysts at ABI Research. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Asia Pacific had notched up 3.45 billion subscriptions, up 8.7 percent year-on-year (YoY), resulting in a cellular penetration of 87.5 percent.
"The strong growth trend of mobile subscription is expected to keep up until 2015, where it will surpass 100 percent," said Jake Saunders, VP and practice director of core forecasting.
In terms of significant movers and shakers, China Unicom, the second largest mobile subscription operator in Asia Pacific, has grown its mobile subscribers 22 percent YoY to attain 239 million, making it the fastest growing operator in Asia.
The next fastest growing operator was China Telecom, which increased its subscriber base by 16.89 percent YoY, reaching 160 million, fuelled by 3G tariffs and smartphones. Smartphone penetration stood at 19.4 percent at the end of 2012, and is expected to approach 26.5 percent by year-end 2013. The third fastest growing operator was Indonesia's Telkomsel with 125 million.