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The number of global LTE subscriptions reached 908.5 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 and has now likely surpassed the 1 billion subscription mark, according to new information released by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).

Approximately 1 in 8 mobile subscriptions now use LTE technology, according to the report.

In the third quarter, the number of LTE connections shot up by nearly 152 million, while GSM subscriptions dropped by 117 million. LTE connections accounted for nearly 12.5 percent of the global mobile subscriber base in the third quarter, according to the data, with North America accounting for just under a quarter of the world’s LTE market with 219 million subscriptions.

The APAC region maintained its lead in total LTE subscriptions with 53.3 percent of the market share, while Europe held steady at just over 15 percent of LTE subscriptions. China alone had surpassed 302 million LTE subscriptions by September.

Substantial growth was also seen in Latin America and the Caribbean, which reached a total of 36 million 4G/LTE subscriptions for an increase of nearly 350 percent year over year.

According to GSA data released in October, 442 operators in 147 countries have already launched commercial LTE systems. Approximately 460 commercial LTE networks are expected to be launched by the end of this year, according to GSA forecasts.

LTE and LTE-Advanced connections are expected to surpass the number of 3G/WCDMA-HSPA subscriptions in 2020, according to GSA.

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