New GSMA report shows North America as 4G frontrunner

New GSMA report shows North America as 4G frontrunner

21 SEP 2014

LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 NORTH AMERICA: Early adoption of LTE networks, along with comparatively low retail rates, is paying off for both North American operators and the region’s economy as customers sign up in their droves to 4G and embrace new services.

The findings, published in a new GSMA study released today – Mobile Economy North America 2014 – show that North American mobile operators have been able to grow revenue at a time when mobile revenue in Europe and other developed markets has been in decline.

In the period between 2008 and 2013, mobile revenue in North America grew by 4.7 per cent a year (CAGR). This was above the global average of 4.5 per cent, and well ahead of Europe, where revenue declined at a CAGR of 3 per cent per annum.

North America’s mobile industry, both directly and indirectly, accounted for around 3 per cent of regional GDP, equivalent to about $550 billion. That figure, says the report, is expected to increase to the $620 billion mark by 2020.

“The North American mobile industry is established as a major contributor to the regional economy, serving over a quarter of a billion citizens and delivering high-speed mobile connectivity to huge swathes of the population,” said Michael O’Hara, chief marketing officer, GSMA. “Our latest Mobile Economy report reveals how the widespread deployment of 4G networks in North America is creating a virtuous circle, stimulating adoption of new mobile technologies, applications and services that are unlocking new revenue streams for operators and enriching the mobile experience for consumers.”

The first commercial LTE network was launched in the region in Q3 2010. By the end of 2013, the US had 85 million 4G mobile connections, making it the world’s single largest 4G market. Canada was ninth-largest with 2.7 million 4G connections. 4G accounted for about one in four of total mobile connections in North America in 2013, the highest proportion of any global region.

Through a mixture of tiered pricing, shared data plans and attractive device portfolios, the report finds that North America has managed to hike up significantly higher volumes of mobile services compared to users in other developed markets, both in terms of traditional mobile services (voice/SMS) and mobile data.

On a per connection basis, time spent on voice calls is five times as high as in Europe, while over twice as many SMS are sent. Data from Cisco indicates that North America in 2013 accounted for over a quarter of global mobile data volumes, despite the region having just over five per cent of total mobile connections.

The report also finds regulators’ relatively relaxed attitude toward market consolidation, plus the early allocation of digital spectrum in 2008, have been key factors in helping North America establish a 4G lead.


Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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