There will be up to 115 million LTE subscribers across the world by 2014, but several major hurdles will slow the uptake of the technology, according to research firm In-Stat.
In a report entitled The State of the LTE Market: CAPEX, Deployments, Subscribers, and Services, analyst Chris Kissel outlined a number of these hurdles.
Chief among them are issues regarding the regulation and allocation of spectrum. Some nations such as the UK are far behind others. LTE is expected to hit these shores at the earliest by 2012, compared to Germany where it is already being deployed.
Furthermore, the report notes that mobile and chipset manufacturers need to add LTE technology to devices to make them LTE compatible, with only the Samsung Craft currently able to do so.
The report also notes that many network operators still have new HSPA networks from which they will want to extract as much return on investment as possible before ramping up LTE deployments, an issue noted before by other analysts.
Operators could also look to cap data usage and throttle speeds on these networks, given the immense amount of data that users could start accessing with the speeds the networks bring.
"Mobile operators have scarcely used or needed broadband caps or speed-throttling, but will have to consider these options moving forward to better manage their networks," said Kissel in a blog posting.
Lastly, he noted there could be notable legal battles ahead around LTE-based patents, similar to what was seen with previous mobile internet technologies.
"There were intense entanglements between major chipset companies in 3G patent infringements and the LTE community is looking at the same scary scenario," he said.
Nevertheless, Kissel said he expects LTE will become the number one mobile internet technology in time, with some operators such as Vodafone making considerable investment in the technology at present.
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