LTE may be growing stateside, with new markets being added by carriers daily, but the technology is also seeing a worldwide uptick. In June of 2012, about 27 million LTE connects were established. While impressive, it’s nothing compared to what we see today. According to the GSMA, we’ll end 2013 with 176 million LTE connections worldwide.

If you’re quick with the math, that a good 600% hike in about 18 months. LTE only began rolling out in early 2010, with Verizon credited for leading the charge in upgrading their network. That helps with the LTE numbers GSMA provided, as they are also noting that almost half (46%) of the LTE connections are made in the USA. All four carriers now have LTE connectivity available, and GSMA notes about 20% of the population has access to LTE.

Outside of the USA, South Korea is making big improvements to their LTE coverage. About half of their connections are now LTE, according to the research, but they’re not alone. Japan is also credited with having quite a few LTE connections, helping to make Asia second tot he Americas in LTE. Combined, the two regions make up over 80% of LTE connections worldwide.

Of course, LTE paves the way for other things, like robust VoLTE service. That would essentially eliminate traditional cellular signals, and increase our dependency on data. Between a faster connection, more apps seeking background data, and voice service gobbling up our data megabytes, the move toward the future could be a dangerous one for our wallets.