It is expected that more than one billion LTE connections will be in place worldwide by 2017, according to a recent report.

The statistics, which come from a report by GSMA Intelligence, show that the migration from 3G to 4G is considerably faster than the migration from 2G to 3G.

The study anticipates that there will be a significant increase from the 176 million users who are currently utilising the superfast mobile broadband services.  The number of operational LTE networks is also expected to double within the next four years, increasing to 465 in 128 countries around the world.

In the UK in particular, the new networks have already had a positive effect on the business market.

The first UK 4G service was launched by EE, with the firm claiming that more than one million subscribers are already hooked up.  Coverage is expected to reach 140 different towns and cities by the close of the year.

The communications regulator Ofcom is currently believed to be exploring ways in which the amount of spectrum available for the superfast networks can be increased.  Current ideas being floated include freeing up the 700Mhz band, which is currently being used for digital terrestrial television (DTT) transmissions.  Ofcom is also believed to already be planning the potential roll-out for the 5G network.

LTE networks have so far been deployed through 12 different frequencies around the world, with 80% utilising the 700Mhz, 800Mhz, 1800Mhz or 2600Mhz bands.

Demand for the 4G networks will doubtless continue to grow over the next couple of years.