China will become the world's largest 4G market in 2015, reaching 300 million connections by the time the year is out, according to data published by the GSMA.
It was reported last week that the country's three telecom operators are ramping up their efforts on 4G coverage, but GSMA's forecasts suggest the scale of their endeavours is vast, especially considering that LTE services were only introduced in China in late 2013.
It's a similar story across large parts of the planet, with 4G networks predicted to cover more than a third of the world's population by the end of the year. GSMA said it has calculated that 4G availability will rise from 27% of the global population last year to 35% by December 2015.
Hyunmi Yang, GSMA's chief strategy officer, said the shift to 4G represents "one of the fastest network technology migrations ever seen", adding that connections will swell at more than 30% a year (CAGR) from 2014 to 2020.
He explained: "There is a tipping point we typically see when 4G grows to account for more than 20% of a market that drives adoption of new services.
"This 20% threshold has already been reached in some markets, and is forecast to happen by 2017-18 on a global basis, which will have a huge transformational impact."
The forecasts come as little surprise given that the number of operators offering 4G services has grown to around 490 million, as of December last year. The Asia-Pacific region appears to be leading the way, accounting for nearly half (47%) of the world's 4G connections.