Global LTE connections reach 27M, almost all in U.S., Korea and Japan

LTE’s impact globally is still small, but it’s growing particularly fast in the countries where carriers were quick to leave the 4G gate. According to a new Wireless Intelligence report, there were 27 million LTE connections in the world at the end of June, but 87 percent of them were in the U.S., South Korea and Japan.

The U.S. has 12.7 million LTE connections, and that is nearly half of the global total. Though three major operators and several smaller ones have live LTE networks, Verizon Wireless still accounts for the vast majority of the business, boasting more than 10 million subscribers. Verizon was the first major operator to bring its LTE network online in December of 2010, and still has a much broader footprint than AT&T(s t) and Sprint(s s), which just launched earlier this month.
Japan’s NTT DoCoMo(s dcm) has also been reaping the benefits of its 2010 launch. It hit the 4 million LTE connection mark this month, accounting for nearly all of Japan’s 4G subscribers. Competitors Softbank Mobile and eMobile only activated their networks this year.
The race in Korea is much closer: SK Telecom(s skm) hosts 4 million LTE links, while LG’s Uplus has 3 million and Korea Telecom(s kt) has 1.4 million.
In just six months global LTE connections have increased 170 percent from 10 million at the end of 2011. As more LTE networks come online that pace will only increase.
LTE image courtesy of Shutterstock user Inq